Title: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 40: 2012

Helen Heath

page 108

Helen Heath

And yet it moves

Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)

you say of the earth
not the sun around us.

You cannot close your eyes
to the view at the end

of the eyeglass. Faith
is not a veil. Eyes drawn

to the stars, the suns, again
and again for years until

they burn through your lenses
twin black holes, one for each eye.

The dark slowly spreads.
The inquisition judges heresy,

commands a recant, wants blind
allegiance from a man in the dark

so you recant, muttering
and yet it moves.

page 109

Faith in this world

Rosalind Franklin (1920 –1958)

She says that faith in this world
is perfectly possible without faith in another.
Taking x-ray photos, the rays scatter
off the surfaces of infinitesimal specks,
leaving spots on photographic paper
making them real as billiard balls.
The unseen defined by how things bounce off.

Gas masks need the right kind of charcoal,
some are more impervious than others.
She wants to know the structure of coal,
to contribute to the war effort.
Rosalind and carbon are compressed,
naturally combustible, but she’s as refined
and focused as her micro-camera.

Ever since Eve, woman asked for it.
If she’d worn a lead apron.
If she’d taken off her glasses
and done something with her hair.
If she hadn’t been so
damned impervious to penetration.
If she hadn’t been the dark lady, the Jewess.
If she wasn’t so combative in the lab.
Lacking intuition—she needs proof.

To decode our programme she needs to
capture the double helix on film.
The waves pass through her
every day. If she doesn’t believe the cancer will
kill her then maybe it won’t.