An Ode to 1577
Maryanne Hannan (bio)

The year of the Great Comet
The year Teresa of Avila wrote El Castillo Interior, Las Moradas
A good year for making and claiming new words for our lexicon
Metanoia, for instance, a nice addition to English. More
than repentance. The mind across. Total transformation.
No window dressing. A full reversal in your interior castle
The year Teresa had a vision of the soul’s crystal globe
plunged into darkness, became as black as coal and emitted
an insufferable odour, and the venomous creatures outside
the palace boundaries were permitted to enter the castle
The year recorded in the Irish Annals of the Four Masters when a
wonderful star appeared in the south-east in the first month of winter:
it had a curved bow-like tail, resembling bright lightning,
the brilliancy of which illuminated the earth around,
and the firmament above
The year the Turkish astronomer Taqī al-Dīn was condemned
for recording the comet’s appearance, because this begot the plague
The year the Carmelite order ordered Teresa into voluntary retirement
for nattering on about institutional change-of-heart reforms
The year deicide and ulcerous entered our flourishing language
The year that Tycho Brahe, seeing a great comet with his own eyes,
measuring it with his sextant, persisted in insisting sun,
moon, and stars revolved around our gross and heavy earth
The year Teresa of Avila wrote Never suppose that either the evil
or the good that you do will remain secret,

however strict may be your enclosure

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