Of Heavenly Bodies
Taking our dog
for her nightly stroll
around the block,
I try to locate
in the south east sky.
On Lorne Street I recall
my grandmother telling me
how scared she was in 1910
that the comet might change course,
strike the earth a glancing blow
and send it spinning crazily
into outer space,
or at the very least
set all the oxygen on fire
and suffocate every living thing.
As I ascend York Street once again,
I realize the comet’s coming
does not frighten me,
just as I suspect
my grandmother would
no longer be afraid of it.
More likely she would say
it is ourselves
of whom we should be frightened.
And by the time I reach our house
I ask myself show I would react
if this town were Bethlehem
and I a shepherd watching over sheep
when a star I had never seen before
turned the dark night into day.
Robert Hawkes (b. 1930)
Here's a little something for the Canadians in the audience. My research suggests that the poet is walking his dog in downtown Sackville, New Brunswick. At first I wasn't sure whether the setting was Sackville or Sudbury, Ontario, because both have streets called York and Lorne, but while those streets intersect in Sackville, they do not in Sudbury. Also, there is a professor of astronomy with the same name as the author as Mt. Allison University in Sackville.
Speaking of Sudbury, while I was looking at a map of the town, trying to determine whether Yor and Lorne Streets intersected, I noticed a thoroughfare called Frood Road. That's awesome. I hereby declare Frood Road to be the hoopiest street in all of Canada.
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