Carbon comes in many forms
Hard as diamond, soft as soot
Coal or graphite when we write
And fancy fullerine to boot.
Carbon chains are straight or branched
Or closed to form a ring
Organic compounds these are called
Parts for life they bring.
Coal and oil and fuel gas
Once mined they have much worth
These reservoirs of energy
Were once alive on earth.
When carbon joins with oxygen
It’s either two or one
The double causes drinks to fizz
The single one? you’re gone.
I mean carbon dioxide’s fairly good
Most days it is our friend
But carbon monoxide’s something else
One miss can mean the end.
–by Peter Elias
Good roots avoid the sunbeams.
They much prefer the dark
Away from light and sources bright.
They love the mysteries of night.
That’s where they leave their mark.
But leaves prefer the sunlight.
That’s where they dream to toil
And offer all until the Fall
To help their Whole stand true and tall
Then rest on peaceful soil.
by Frank Hubeny
This is how we know we’ve made it,
not by being in record books,
but by being dug up
by a civilisation
long after us,
who will not look
at the amalgamation
of rock, sand and coral
coated in synthetics
and see a rarity,
of how we shaped the earth
in the image
of our greed.
Note: Plastiglomerate is a ‘new’ rock formed when melted plastics combine with rock, sand, coral and other debris to form a geological entity that will be embedded in the fossil record, and noted as a characteristic of the Anthropocene. For more information: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/06/rocks-made-plastic-found-hawaiian-beach
Plastiglomerate by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
After the rain, we went out in pairs
to hunt the caps that budded at night:
wet handfuls of waxtips and widows,
lawyer’s wigs, a double-ringed yellow.
We shook them out onto gridded sheets,
the girls more careful than the boys,
pencilled notes on their size and shape,
then levelled a wood-press over their heads.
Overnight, they dropped scatter patterns
in dot-and-dash, spindles and asterisks
that stained the page with smoky rings,
blush and blot, coal-dust blooms.
In that slow black snow of spores
I saw a woodcut winter cart and horse
careen off course, the dull crash
of iron and ash, wheels unravelling.
All day, a smell of loam hung overhead.
We bent like clairvoyants at our desks
trying to divine the message left
in all those little deaths, the dark, childless stars.
by Sarah Holland-Batt
There are the rushing waves
mountains of molecules
each stupidly minding its own business
yet forming white surf in unison
Ages on ages
before any eyes could see
year after year
thunderously pounding the shore as now.
For whom, for what?
On a dead planet
with no life to entertain.
Never at rest
tortured by energy
wasted prodigiously by the Sun
poured into space.
A mite makes the sea roar.
Deep in the sea
all molecules repeat
the patterns of one another
till complex new ones are formed.
They make others like themselves
and a new dance starts.
Growing in size and complexity
masses of atoms
dancing a pattern ever more intricate.
Out of the cradle
onto dry land
here it is
atoms with consciousness;
matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea,
wonders at wondering: I
a universe of atoms
an atom in the Universe.
Richard read this poem as part of an address to the National Academy of Sciences.
I drift across the galaxy
sometimes I am geometry
other times algebraic
sinking into shape as
gravity decides me
I aim for you who
by Damian Garstang
Perhaps I shine brightest now,
but my energy has changed;
what I know is difficult to know
in simple space and time;
passion is a system dying,
if not making new.
Precious is a luxury,
a jewel with maintenance.
I am a white dwarf, long in the truth
of life and death, weighted with mission
that follows me like a shadow,
a penumbra I must now leave behind.
This is the way of creation, nothing
begets nothing. Darkness moves me
into the light.
— Richard Maxson
Poem submitted as part of community poetry prompts at https://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/
The Chandrasekhar Limit is now accepted to be approximately 1.4 times the mass of the sun; any white dwarf with less than this mass will stay a white dwarf forever, while a star that exceeds this mass is destined to end its life in that most violent of explosions: a supernova.
Last Day in Space
Tomorrow we light our rocket,
we burn our engines and likewise,
burn a hole in the sky,
And thus fall toEarth.
How does one spend your last day in space?
Looking at Earth,
a blue jewel surrounded by inky blackness,
Pure Occipital Ecstasy.
Unconstrained by your girth,
you fly with vestigial wings.
The atmosphere on edge,
iridescent blue with no earthly parallel,
Electrifying Diaphanous Beauty.
Guarded by Sirens of Space,
singing saccharine songs,
beckoning you to crash on the atmos-reef
which tears you limb from limb
andscorching what remains
into cosmic croutons that sprinkle onto
the garden salad of Earth.
One last feast out the window,
A looking glass of Wonderland.
Offering both a portal to see your world,
and a translucent reflection to see yourself.
what is your place in this worldbelow,
how do you change it,
how does it change you.
We are wedded to this planet,
until mass extinction we do part.
Perhaps one planet is not enough.
You study your charts,
we prepare our spaceship,
and our minds.
We make ready our descent,
into these seemingly gentle arms.
The eager anticipation of hugging your wife,
your boys with grins followed by pouting faces,
both excited to see you but not understanding why you left.
Oh how does one spend your last day in Space.
What would you do?
Node 2, Deck 5
ISS, LEO 51.603
Originally blogged at https://blogs.nasa.gov/letters/2012/06/
Around, around the sun we go:
The moon goes round the earth.
We do not die of death:
We die of vertigo.
by Archibald MacLeish