An Account of a New Comet

by J.R. Carpenter

after Caroline Herschel

2 August 1786

I venture to trouble you 

in absence 

with the following 

imperfect account 

*

sweeping 

in the neighbourhood 

of the sun 

last night 

I found an object 

very much resembling 

in colour and brightness

the twenty-seventh nebula 

with the difference

of being round

a haziness coming on

it was not possible 

to satisfy 

myself 

as to its motion 

until this evening

*

I made several drawings 

I have enclosed copies 

with my observations annexed 

that you may compare them

the star-like 

object in the centre 

out of focus 

while the rest are distinct

makes an isosceles triangle 

with the two stars 

a and

but so hazy 

I cannot sufficiently see 

the small star

*

evident motion 

since last night 

another 

considerable star 

c

may be taken 

into the field 

of view

*

I cannot find the stars 

a and c 

in any catalogue 

but suppose they may be 

easily traced 

in the heavens

J. R. Carpenter is an artist, writer, and researcher working across performance, print, and digital media. Her web-based work The Gathering Cloud won the New Media Writing Prize 2016. Her collection An Ocean of Static was highly commended by the Forward Prizes 2018. Her collection This is a Picture of Wind was named one of The Guardian’s best poetry books of 2020. http://luckysoap.com

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