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Comet Lament

Comet 67P. Photo credit: European Space Agency, under a CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseThe landing of a spacecraft on Comet 67P yesterday prompted SEED Co-director Emily Style to share a poem she wrote in 1999 on the encounters she has had with comets in her life.

I cheered my heart out for the Comets, unabashed
give me a C, give me an O, give me an M, an E, a T & an S—
what does it spell?
midwestern winter white
proud group member
gymnasium joy

Kalamazoo Christian High School's championship basketball teams
made it easy, logical
and soaringly right
our Comet logo
searing marks
across God's own sky

At a Fetzer gathering in the same Kalamazoo, years later
I'm heartened to hear a small group colleague describe her drawing of
... a comet, of all things—as having something to do with her experience
of diversity

Rushing headlong to connect
I identify myself with her
who hails from Michigan too
though she is black & I am white
I propose "The Comets" as the name for our small group
new and old echoing freely in me
quick to run with the ball

A compelling character
with her own sky rights,
the colleague gets more graphic

For her, a comet is
a dirty snowball full of pus
needing to be discharged—

Abruptly halted I am
forced to notice difference
my cherished logo
muddied now by coming-to-know (again)
cultural halo worn by whites
(me among them) in my hometown
& wherever in these united states of america
sunny but blindingly cold winter white exists

© Emily Jane VandenBos Style, KCHS Class of 1966
w/ special acknowledgement of Sharon Davis, small group colleague
Fetzer Healing the Heart of Diversity, Kalamazoo retreat series, 1999

Photo credit: European Space Agency, under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

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Tuesday, 31 January 2023
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