Rotation Transformations

by Gerard Beirne

Having fixed the stars in space
Nicolaus Copernicus sets the world
(by default) into motion

(the only possible deduction)

dispelling the notion
of an earth at rest
at the centre of the universe.

Incredulous at his own audacity
Copernicus repeatedly wipes his brow
and furiously paces his study.

What now?

All too aware of the consequences
the sealing of his fate
he looks down
observes the movement of his feet.

His world never to stand still again.

the nature of rotation transformations
the ongoing search for the centre
the point about which all else revolves.

Copernicus in a spin
maps out his life
its daily and yearly revolutions
defines his rotation about the origin

keeping his distance
maintaining his isometry.

While elsewhere all around him
the earth is stationary
motionless amidst concentric rotating spheres
of outdated postulations
the fear of a heliocentric theory replacing self
and God, that other great astronomer,
of little help.

Copernicus the church administrator
counts the cost
his uncle (Bishop Lukasz Watsenrode) aghast.
His world precessing on its axis
while Copernicus observes his own occultation
the obscuration of his greatest work
De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium.

Finding his own place in space
Copernicus awaits his death

a rigid motion transformation.

And us? Even yet
our coordinates unknown
our centre unnamed
our images translated to another plane
a geocentric cosmology continuing to reign.

Games of Chance: A Gambler's Manual (Oberon Press)

Gerard Beirne's picture

Gerard Beirne was born in Ireland. A Canadian citizen, he has lived in Canada for over thirteen years. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. He is a past recipient of The Sunday Tribune/Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year award. He was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick 2008-2009 and is a Fiction Editor with The Fiddlehead, Canada's longest living literary magazine., His collection Games of Chance: A Gambler’s Manual has just been published by Oberon Press- Fall 2011., His collection of poetry Digging My Own Grave was published by Dedalus Press, Dublin. An earlier version won second place in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award.

Last updated March 08, 2012