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Topography

Sharon Olds

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astronomy
2005-10-18
Added by: Patrick Rumley
Though this is my favorite Sharon Olds poem, I laugh nearly every time I read “your / sun rising swiftly from the right my / sun rising swiftly from the left your / moon rising slowly from the left my / moon rising slowly from the right.” What I laugh at is how misguided Olds is in her astronomy. In her description of the moon rise she has it rising in the West, a common misconception, but wrong none the less. Let it be known that all heavenly bodies rise in the East and set in the West, this is due to the rotation of the Earth. Let it also be known that the sun and moon both rise with the same swiftness, this is also due to the rotation of the Earth. Though this is the case, let it be known that “Topography” is a beautiful poem despite, and perhaps because of, Olds misconception concerning astronomy.

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