NGC 3949

NGC 3949

Today’s Guardian Review carries a lovely poem by Adam O’RiordanNGC 3949, about a galaxy in Ursa Major whose formation mirrors almost exactly that of our own galaxy.

NGC 3949 is an unbarred spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It is believed to be approximately 50 million light-years away from the earth. The type II supernova SN 2000db is the only supernova that has been observed within NGC 3949.

NGC 3949 is a member of the M109 Group, a group of galaxies located in the constellation Ursa Major that may contain over 50 galaxies. The brightest galaxy in the group is the spiral galaxy M109.

Back from the perforated dark and growing distance,
Hubble’s milky image brings us to ourselves.

The echo pitched up from the moss-wet well:
a lover’s shape, that indelible stain on the iris.

(Years down the line, you swear blind
the cut and sway of a dark form is her.

Neon dazzles the rain-slicked street
as you wave away the cab and push

back down through the crowd into the bar,
pilot charting the wrong star by candlelight,

leagues off course; the face, of course, is another’s.)
In this spiral galaxy the arms embrace the core.

Not her – or your idea of her – and never will be.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is.

From In the Flesh by Adam O’Riordan (Chatto Poetry, £10)