This week’s poem, Richard Foerster’s “Moon Jellyfish,” brings us close to a creature and its otherworldly beauties. I love the exquisitely precise imagery of this poem and how it mingles the language of the jellyfish’s morphology with that of the cosmos and the divine.

Foerster has worked as a lexicographer, educational writer, typesetter, teacher and editor of the literary magazines Chelsea and Chautauqua Literary Journal. For the last 34 years, he has lived on the coast of southern Maine.

Moon Jellyfish

By Richard Foerster

Aurelia aurita

No planet could keep so many moons in tow.
They drift, constantly unconstellating
around you in their milky way. Even to want

to cradle one in your palm would compromise
their elegance: the opaque domes
are stippled with a compass rose and trail,


like auroras, fine voluted veils. Gravity
would spell their deaths. Voiceless, blind,
they seem oracular—mouths and eyes

fixed since the first pulse of the world’s womb
on a source beyond orbits of perception. To swim
among them is to float as if in the pure We are

that scorched the oceans into life. Watch
how your mere expended breath, on its own
celestial path, must break into their midst.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Moon Jellyfish,” copyright 2019 by Richard Foerster, first appeared in The Southern Review. Reprinted from “Boy on a Doorstep: New and Selected Poems” (Tiger Bark Press, 2019) by permission of the author.

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