A young couple visits the observatory on our public open night. They’re looking for their baby’s star. They show us a fancy decorated certificate with her name picked out in gold. Her star, which they paid an international company to “name” for her, with its co-ordinates. The night is very clear. Myriads of stars wrap across the Milky Way like a fine jewelled lace shawl, some with an adamantine glitter clearly visible to the naked eye. She was such a happy baby, the woman says. Smiley. No trouble at all. She just faded away. Three months old. Her name was Ella. We point out one of the brightest stars. They should be able to see this star for much of the year where they live. There it is, Ella’s star. The blue-white one. They thank us, then walk back to their car. Lights off so as not to interrupt tonight’s star-party telescope viewing, they inch away, back down the mountain.
outside a church
how many light years
before tears fade
is a retired botanist and science journalist who has lived in Canberra, Australia with her family for more than four decades. A photography enthusiast and keen world traveller, she is a late-comer to haiku. Her poetry and artworks appear in international journals, have been featured on Japanese television, and have won awards in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and the United States.
(See also her Poet Profile at The Haiku Foundation.)
⚡ Magus, cheribun by Ms. McGregor among the finalists in MacQ’s Cheribun Challenge (Issue 12, March 2022)
⚡ Terror Australis, haibun by Ms. McGregor among the finalists in “Triple-Q” Writing Challenge (Issue 11 of MacQ, January 2022)