Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For Annie Jump Cannon, 1863-1941

Bright Star, Would I Were Stedfast by John Keats
Bright star, would I were stedfast as though art--
Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors:
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast
To feel forever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest;
Still, still to hear her tender- taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
Although this poem is done in the romantic style of John Keats, for some reason I thought it would make a fitting tribute to the woman astronomer I had mentioned earlier in my blog under the Adrienne Rich poem. I still plan to do a post or two about this fascinating and incredibly hard working woman. Annie Jump Cannon pushed the frontiers of astronomy outward a great deal in her time and in my opinion has never been as properly acknowledged as she should have been. More to come about Annie Cannon and her life later. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by or passing through! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Jump_Cannon


Alex Robinson said...

Great - it is for us to decide who we admire & how we would like to honour them. We've been TOLD who to 'look up to' for far too long.

Why do you admire her so Devin - what is it about her that draws you?

Devin said...

Hiya wise-gosh I am so thankful for all of the thoughtful and intelligent comments today! I thought as the season sped on towards the new year it would be hard to get any comments or activity here! With Annie-I do not even know where to start-first of all it has always rubbed me the wrong way that had she been a man she would be a household(at the very least in the world of astronomy name) I love the way she approached the amazingly hard work she had to do with such a fervor(normally i think in some modern areas of life 'work' defines a person way too much and in some cases people are being worked to death in jobs they hate) but if you 'work' at a job you love now that is a different story. in the posts that i hope to do about her i want to take the reader through a step by step process of the work Annie had to do and how difficult it must have been and the AMOUNT of it she did-I think Annie must have felt a soul connection to the stars when she looked up at the sky at night-I think she herself was probably such a humble soul that on the inside she could have cared less about human honors and awards-but like i say-it sure as hell grinds at me and maybe i am wrong for this-but i feel that had it been a bloke doing the work-he would have been showered with praises on his masculine busyasabeeness! I also-this is going to sound so stupid-but I also love her face-do not know how else to put it. In the photo she is working at her 'craft' I get a psychic sense of what wonder she must have been feeling at the time-it wasnt work to her at all-but discovering some of creations secrets-that in my beliefs we will never know all of-to me this is a wonderful and joyful thing-I think she also realized this but had such a sense of delight that she was very happy with her 'human' share of nature's secrets. This image kind of reminds me of another woman that everyone who reads MFM knows i adore-Anne Sexton-there is a photo of Anne Sexton working at her craft that I am going to try to find and put up here later-even tho this pic is in profile-I love it because Anne seems to be happy-it is kind of a heartbreaking image in light of later events. Annie and Anne-two aspects of the eternal feminine (to me anyway) I just wish Anne had stuck around longer-do not judge at all-but what can I say-I miss her! Sorry I am so all over the place in this response-may as well go all the way -to Linda Gray Sexton-your mom would be proud of you! I do hope that when Annie Cannons posts are hopefully here I can make the reader sure of how hard and intricate the 'work' she had to do was-but I think she did it with eternal gratitude and delight. best to you as always wise and your family-thanks so much for stopping by!

Alex Robinson said...

Thanks for your reply Devin - I loved that you loved her face - that is the second time I have noted you remarked on admiring women's faces that would not be termed beautiful & it is heart warming coming from a man.

The overpowering emphasis on women's looks is suffocating - I recently read an excellent book which pointed out how female beauty has come to be equated with power - there is this constant pressure on & in the female species to put so much energy into 'looks' which can then be translated into 'apparent' power via the appreciation & attention of the 'apparent' wielders of power - men. All this comes at the loss of great female achievements, also there is the backlash created by women who will not or feel they cannot, embrace their creativity IMO.

Devin said...

Well as far as the 'man' part-there may be debate about this(wink)In all seriousness I am so glad you saw this and I couldnt agree more with your profound thoughts in the second comment! I am so glad I caught this was just about to do more research-although I might be back later this am-I love your thinking in your new post-best to you and yours as always-hope to chat very very soon!