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
The way they tell it
All the stars have wings
The sky so full of wings
There is no sky
And just for a moment
The error and the crimped
Paths of light
And you see it
The immense migration
And you hear the rush
Rebecca was an Astronomer working on the Hubble Telescope.
The day conceals its brilliant face,
And dark night covers up the fields,
Black shadows creep upon the hills,
Light’s rays recede from us.
Before us gapes a well of stars –
Stars infinite, well fathomless.
A grain of sand in ocean swells,
A tiny glint in endless ice,
Fine ash caught in a mighty gale,
A feather in a raging fire,
So I am lost in this abyss,
Oppressed by thoughts profound.
The mouths of wise men call to us:
“A multitude of worlds dwell there,
Among them burning suns untold,
And peoples, and the wheel of time:
There, all of nature’s strength
Exists God’s glory to proclaim”
But where, O nature, is your law?
Dawn breaks from out of northern lands!
Is this the home of our sun’s throne?
Or are the icy oceans burning?
Behold, cold fire envelops us!
Behold, now day has entered night.
O thou, whose lively gaze can see
Into the book of law eternal,
For whom the smallest part of things
Reveals the code in all of nature,
Thou comprehendeth planets’ course,
Now tell us what disturbs our souls?
by Mikhail Lomonosov; “The Father of Russian Poetry”
And they collided;
Sending light and gravitational waves of a gamma-ray burst.
They were dead for a long time
From a supernova that killed all their electrons and protons,
And turned them into small, dense and heavy masses.
There are millions of them,
But these two came closer and closer,
With love as strong as their gravity,
And they collided.
The collision was spectacular,
A cosmic gold event that created real gold,
And uranium was created along with it.
Once they have been huge dazzling stars,
But they created a spectacle when they were dead.
Probably now we’ll have some answers,
On how the Universe was created and at what rate it is expanding,
And we’ll have no one thank other than these neutron stars,
Because they collided.
From World of Biba
Let There be Light!
The singularity is now complete.
Contained — the building blocks of gas and rock.
The Master Builder rises from His seat
And sets to midnight its celestial clock.
But time’s timepiece will neither tick nor tock
Until the detonation — till the blast.
The Builder nods — the shackles, they unlock;
The force that held the seething mass is cast
Aside — no longer is the bomb held fast,
As now the point of no return is reached.
And so the future will be as the past,
As boundaries are broken, blasted, breached.
Exploding outward does the matter race,
Constructing rock and gas and time and space.
by D.N. O’Brien
It didn’t look like much – just a jiggle of lines on the screen,
Like the ECG chart of the heartbeat of a dying man
Dragging every precious breath from the air,
Or the marks scratched by a pen onto a paper scroll
As a tremor rolled along the San Andreas Fault.
But it was History, there for all to see, an image
As glorious as Galileo’s asterix-etched sketch of Jupiter’s
Mischevious moons, or Rosse’s portrait of the great
Whirlpool drawn at the Leviathan’s eye;
A record of a whisper that had travelled for more than a billion years,
So soft, so faint that the slow turn of a page
In a library’s quietest corner would sound as loud
As a hurricane’s howling wind to the instruments’ ears,
And the lifting of a single strand of a sleeping new-born’s hair
By a passing summer breeze would crack like a Balrog’s whip.
Hard to believe, looking at that jagged mountain range trace
That we were staring the deepest of deep physics in the face,
Looking back in time to when a pair of black holes danced,
Swirling dervishes, dense as 60 Suns,
Their shirts and skirts of Hawking radiation twirling as they whirled
Around each other in a giddy reel, then
Hurtled together at half the speed of Light –
What a sight that must have been,
But hominid eyes would not look to the sky for an eternity more,
And when it finally cocked an ear in their direction
LIGO could hear only echoes of their ancient laughter,
Waves tumbling in from the depths of space and time,
Lapping at our feet, rippling round, through and past the Earth
Like the melodies of distant whale-song.
© Stuart Atkinson 2016