Poetry in Bloom | wisconsinacademy.org
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Poetry in Bloom

Spring emerges and we can’t help but have a lighter step, feel encouraged as color brightens the landscape, and enjoy moments lingering outside. I am particularly grateful to be a part of the Academy this spring.

In the midst of election intensity and divisive politics, the Academy is focused on connecting people with different perspectives through the shared exploration of timely and timeless topics.

Even with differences of opinion on important issues, Wisconsin is still a place where people have much in common. The experiences we have together can increase our understanding of one another, as well as the world we share.

It was this goal that inspired Bloom: a season of poetry, a series of events unfolding over the next couple months across the state. A showcase of poets and their works, Bloom will explore and illuminate both individual perspectives and shared themes. These events will culminate with a reading and book signing by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. Find more details on the back cover of this month’s issue and at www.wisconsinacademy.org/events.

I’ve been reading works by Ms. Limón and as an exuberant star gazer, I sought out In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa. In collaboration with NASA, this poem will be engraved on the Europa Clipper spacecraft and travel 1.8 billion miles to the Jupiter system. In the poem, we are reminded that, it is not darkness that unites us, but our shared existence on earth and our shared humanity.

In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa by Ada Limón

Arching under the night sky inky
with black expansiveness, we point
to the planets we know, we

pin quick wishes on stars. From earth,
we read the sky as if it is an unerring book
of the universe, expert and evident.

Still, there are mysteries below our sky:
the whale song, the songbird singing
its call in the bough of a wind-shaken tree.

We are creatures of constant awe,
curious at beauty, at leaf and blossom,
at grief and pleasure, sun and shadow.

And it is not darkness that unites us,
not the cold distance of space, but
the offering of water, each drop of rain,

each rivulet, each pulse, each vein.
O second moon, we, too, are made
of water, of vast and beckoning seas.

We, too, are made of wonders, of great
and ordinary loves, of small invisible worlds,
of a need to call out through the dark.


Erika Monroe-Kane is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. In a range of professional settings, Monroe-Kane has distinguished herself as an innovator, collaborator, and strategic-thinker.

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