We conclude therefore that stars are seen at midnight in uncurtailed glory…
Galileo: ‘The Sidereal Messenger’
In 1610, Galileo Galilei
Observed moons orbiting Jupiter.
He shifted one foot to another.
For this, they locked him in his chamber.
The table, chairs, the painted mirror
On the wall: tangents to a frozen centre.
This was the Inquisition’s irony.
We could speculate that dust gathered
And was thrown through winter light,
That there was a call of cicadas,
And the thought of birdsong, echoing
In courtyards, without measure, without end-
And laughter, the abjured word spoke sotto voce
To the door, the stars their own answer.