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Two Prose-Poems With Comets in Context

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Since I went pioneering in 1962 there has been what Robert Bly calls “a domestication of poetry”. “That’s one metaphor” says Bly “to explain the amazing tameness of the sixty to eighty volumes of poetry published each year, compared with the compacted energy” of the poetry that came from the “wild knots of energy” of the poetry going back at least to the 1920s. --Robert Bly, “Knots of Wild Energy: An Interview With Wayne Dodd”, American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity, Harper and Row, NY, 1990, p.300.

We have never before faced what it’s like in the culture when hundreds of people want to write poetry and want to be instructed in it...We know how to instruct a hundred engineers, or computer technicians...We don’t know how to instruct in the area of poetry. -Robert Bly, ibid., p.318.

Such a burgeoning, multiplicity,

everything happening at once.

But, you know Robert, I’ve met

a lot of engineers who aren’t too

happy with their instruction.

We’ve got much to work out in this

incredible planetary fertilization,

bifurcated merging, cross-fertilization,

exploding tempest, increased intensity,

desperately troubling times. Wondrous

leaps and thrusts cross-firing: leaving

people bewildered, agonized and helpless.

Those knots of wild energy, we had them too,

as the great Order began to form back then

in the first two epochs of this Formative Age:


Our earliest pioneers had what you might call

a conflagrant holy urgency. I came in on the firey

end of that ninth stage of history and caught the

comet’s burning ice and after thirty years I try

to translate it into a poetry of dazzling prospects,

a poetry of two more epochs. Is it wild, Robert?

Is it wild? I was wild; I was. I, too, have been


Ron Price

16 October 1995



One way to visualize the relative sizes in the solar system is to imagine a model in which it is reduced in size by a factor of a billion. Then the Earth is about 1.3 cm in diameter(the size of a grape). The Moon orbits a foot away. The Sun is 1.5 meters in diameter(the size of a man) and 150 meters from the Earth.(a city block) Jupiter is 15 cm in diameter(grapefruit) and 5 blocks away from the Sun. Saturn(an orange) is 10 blocks away; Uranus and Neptune(lemons) are 20 and 30 blocks away. A human being on this scale is the size of an atom; the nearest star is 9000 km away -Obtained from Internet, 02/03/96.

On 4 October 1957 Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite was safely in orbit, circulating the Earth every 96 minutes. Five Orbiter spacecraft mapped the moon between August 1966 and December 1967. I finished my education, got married and pioneered to the Canadian Arctic that year. On 20 July 1969 the first man walked on the moon. Two years and two months later my wife and I left Canada for Australia. Sitting in our lounge room in Whyalla South Australia in the evening, felt like being on the moon. -Ron Price, 4 February 1996, Noon.

Wilder than your wildest imagination,

simply the most incredible reality

in existence: existence, the universe

in all its labyrinthian complexity.

Wilder than your wildest imagination,

simply the most incredible reality

in existence: one’s own life, its days,

its years in their labyrinthian complexity.

1957 to 1997: forty years on

in the great journey into space

with missions to the furthest reaches

of the solar system: Pioneers10 and 11.

Astronomy taking off at last.

Voyagers taking us to Jupiter,

Uranus and Neptune.

Light has gone around

the planet and we have gone

around the solar system.

The radio galaxy 3C65

in the constellation of Andromeda

lies some 8 billion light years

away, some say, in a universe

that expands forever,

dramatically less than a

second after its birth.

Just last week astronomers

discovered 1500 galaxies

whose light started its journey

toward Earth five billion years ago.

There are hurricanes

three times the size of Earth,

two-and-a-half billion miles away

on Jupiter-itself a sea

of liquid metallic hydrogen,

home of thousands of mysteries,

storms and chaos.

Home of the ten hour day,

home of four moons.

A place you could fit in all the planets.

Collector of comets,

protector of our planet.

Pioneering into the solar system,

into my psycho-spiritual system

into the global society

with each on our own trip….

Ron Price

4 February 1996


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