Andromeda the Princess

The nearest galaxy of comparable size to our own is the Great Nebula in Andromeda, located approximately 2 million light years from us.

—Robert Jastrow, Red Giants and White Dwarfs


Once more the barber has clipped my hair too short.
Wind worries my lobes, runs long fingers over crop,

blows from my forehead cut oddments of floss
like the gossamer of a drawing room window.

A savage glitter imbues that room: instruments (brass)
of torturous design, a dwarf, misshapen by pain, chained

to a fire-grate, and bound facedown on a catafalque,
a woman sobbing, her youthful haunches starred

with rubies of blood. On the far side of the room,
by a silvered speculum, a casement opens on an alien sky.

There are scorched buttes, a line of impossible hills,
and something manlike that scratches through rock

as a giant spiral, a rising Charybdis of stars and gas,
ignites the landscape like a monstrous moon.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Andromeda the Princess”?

A bad haircut.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Andromeda the Princess”?

The tradition of the sonnet with science and Greek mythology thrown in as seasoning.

This poem “Andromeda the Princess” originally appeared in Nature / Culture. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 170-171 (Autumn/Winter 2001): 108.

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