Friday, December 7, 2018

"How to Grade Comets" by Mary Soon Lee, Poet of the Week

How to Grade Comets
Mary Soon Lee

Do not grade on a curve.
Do not use numbers at all.

Even the smallest comet
deserves more than a score.

Consider their constancy,
their patience, their heart.

That long cold trajectory
before the sunward curl.

Compliment their commitment,
their comae, their tails.

The courage it takes to burn
for the sake of their art.

Grant each a gold star
to welcome them back.

Poet's Notes: This poem is part of a sequence of astronomy poems that I am working on. I have been writing more science poetry of late, but it is often science poetry with a slantwise view, such as in this case. If I could have six lives and six careers, I would hope to be a scientist in one of them. I am especially drawn to space, and, though I have not put it to use, I have an M.Sc. in astronautics and space engineering.

Editor's Note:  I have known Mary for years and just found out about her Master's degree!  I hope you enjoyed this final tribute to her as she goes ad astra (but hopefully not per aspera).


  1. So many clever lines in this poem, I was hooked at the first one. Loved especially grading on a curve and giving them a gold star to keep them coming back as they apply equally to comet physics and teaching.


  2. Thank you!! I'm very happy you liked it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.