verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter, isnas fine as any modern blank verse Inknow, its variations speaking theirnchanges with a greater precision andnfeeling because of the strictness.n”Suit of Light” is a simple narrative,nelaborately performed and achieved. Anman stands looking at a white carpet innthe sunlight through the windows andnsees colors, including reds, in it—andnhe imagines a savage on the floor,nbleeding, bleeding, just for him. Thenlong lines are handled as skillfully as inn”Sentimental Education.” The poemnhas passion and color and playfulness.n”But time rustles the silk curtains —nthere he stands, in the tenor of yournlife, opening another vein.”n”Steps Taken in a Debris of DaynLilies” (in The Thing King, not in Newnand Selected Poems) is based on ansimple procedure, intricately developed:nday lilies are described, then anwoman is described, and woman andnlily meet in a simile that invokes annetwork of connectings and identities.nLike a turned down lily,nready to drop.nThe woman drops hernpollinated jewels.nReads a story about the sun’snfar death:nIf someone is trying tonfrighten her.nShe will turn out the light,nlift up the lamp.nIt is still warm by the river—nYou cannHear the lilies feeding onnthe stariight.nThe jewels are literally pollinated fromnbeing near the lilies. Jewels breed jewelsnmetaphorically as beauty and neednbreed beauty and need and art. Thenintricate art pauses against the far andnreal presence-to-be in time and spacenand seeming inevitability of “the sun’snfar death”; and if the woman lifts up thenlamp (of art and invention) against thenlight and the darkness to come, the lightnand dark are still present. The typicalntheme in Eaton — the gap between artnand our artifacts and any reality—isnsoundly defeated for once, and we arenglad. Great art does speak truth.nPaul Ramsey is poet-in-residence andna professor of English at thenUniversity of Tennessee atnChattanooga.nCelestial Sightsnby Jocelyn TomkinnScience and Objectivity: Episodesnin the History of Astronomynby Norriss S. HetheringtonnAmes: Iowa State University Press;n180 pp., $24.95nIt is a November evening in 1572.nThe Danish nobleman and astronomernTycho Brahe is returning to hisnuncle’s house. As he notes that thenclearer sky bodes well for resuming hisnobservations after dinner, a strange, brilliantnstar suddenly catches his attention.nIn amazement, he watches it for somentime, then:nWhen I had satisfied myself thatnno star of that kind had evernshone forth before, I was ledninto such perplexity by thenunbelievability of the thing thatnI began to doubt the faith of mynown eyes, and so, turning to thenservants who were accompanyingnme, I asked themnwhether they too could see ancertain extremely bright starnwhen I pointed out the placendirectly overhead. Theynimmediately replied with onenvoice that they saw it completelynand that it was extremely bright.nBut despite their affirmation,nstill being doubtful on accountnof the novelty of the thing, Inenquired of some countrynpeople who by chance werentravelling past in carriagesnwhether they could see a certainnstar in the height. Indeed thesenpeople shouted out that theynsaw that huge star, which hadnnever been noticed so high up.nTycho Brahe’s vivid account of hisnresponse on first seeing the supernovanof 1572 leaves no doubt that it impressednhim. Of course Tycho Brahenhad no idea he was seeing a star blowingnitself to bits; it is only in the last 50 yearsnthat astronomers have recognized supernovaenas a distinct class of astronomicalnbeast and figured out what liesnbehind the spectacle.nTycho Brahe’s supernova jolted Europeannastronomy, then at a criticalnstage. The bolder spirits were consideringnthe heliocentric system of Coperni­nnncus (1473-1543) as a possible alternativento the geocentric system of Aristotlen(384-322 B.C.), which had been thenMiddle Ages’ system of choice and wasnstill the generally-accepted scheme.nThe supernova certainly was not onnAristotle’s program, which held that theneighth sphere — the abode of the fixednstars — was immutable, nor did Copernicusnsay anything about stars poppingnseemingly out of nowhere. HencenTycho Brahe’s amazement.nIn a modest 180 pages. Science andnObjectivity describes similar astronomicalnincidents of shattered expectationsnand broken prejudices. But, unlikenTycho Brahe and his supernova, innthese cases the astronomers had nontrouble seeing what was there. On thencontrary, the mental baggage theynbrought with them to the telescopencaused them to “see” more than whatnwas actually there, and, sometimes,nthey continued to “see” again andnagain what was only in their imagination.nThe astronomical misadventuresnchronicled range from 1609 to then1920’s. They concern what variousnastronomers thought they saw or, innthe more recent instances, thoughtnthey measured.nOne of the most interesting episodesninvolved Percival Lowell and the planetnMars. After graduating from Harvardnin 1876, doing the grand tour ofnEurope, and then making some successfulnbusiness investments, Lowellnhad the leisure to write books andnindulge his keen interest in astronomy.nHe became particulady interested innMars and its possibilities as an abode ofnan alien civilization. An Italian astronomernclaimed to have observed darknstraight markings on the Martian surfacenwhich he called “canali.” Translatedninto English as “canals,” in thenEnglish-speaking world the term hadngained unintended overtones of artificialnrather than natural origin. Withnthe help of his excellent eyesight andnan observatory he had built at a favorablenhigh-altitude location in northernnArizona, Lowell took a close look atnMars. Sure enough, he saw canals; notnjust one or two, but a whole system ofnthem radiating outwards from points.nHe concluded that Mars was inhabitednand that the points were oases replenishednby a planet-wide system of canals.nPublication of his claim in ThenAtlantic Monthly and the eloquencenMAY 1989/33n