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


Space Within

Considering the expanding universe and ultimate cooling, I pause
remembering photos of star birth amid nebulosity,
nuclear furnaces blossoming.

Telescopes in orbit or secluded in foreign deserts
produce pictures in lights we cannot see
show immensities in glorious un-colours.

In the back garden, I look up, past scudding clouds,
watch coloured pinpricks arrayed over black sky
with occasional satellites twinkling by beneath.

Feeling the breeze, green with trees, redolent with life
thinking of all those things we cannot see
here and all the way up there.

Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond



On the other side of a mirror there’s an inverse world, where the in-
sane go sane; where bones climb out of the earth and recede to the first
slime of love.

And in the evening the sun is just rising.

Lovers cry because they are a day younger, and soon childhood robs
them of their pleasure.

In such a world there is much sadness which, of course, is joy…

By Russell Edson.

‘A Morning on Alp Lusgen’ (1892)

Unplanted groves! whose pristine seeds, they say,
Were sown amid the flames of nascent stars—
How came ye thence and hither? Whence the craft
Which shook these gentian atoms into form,
And dyed the flower with azure deeper far
Than that of heaven itself on days serene?
What built these marigolds? What clothed these knolls
With fiery whortle leaves? What gave the heath
Its purple bloom—the Alpine rose its glow?
Shew us the power which fills each tuft of grass
With sentient swarms?—the art transcending thought,
Which paints against the canvas of the eye
These crests sublime and pure, and then transmutes
The picture into worship? Science dumb—
Oh babbling Gnostic! cease to beat the air.
We yearn, and grope, and guess, but cannot know.


by the Victorian physicist John Tyndall, a keen mountaineer, addressing the Alpine landscape that he loved.

Notably, Tyndall proved the connection between CO2 and atmospheric heating, which we now know as the Greenhouse Effect.


In the absence of light
Stealing any photons in sight
Your acceleration only furthers the guise

Massless invaders
Acting like fatal creators

Why is everything you say
Spun ‘round so many particles of hate?
Charming the quarks, encouraged to decay

Though it’s still ironic
That you can’t emit to be this ionic

You’re always so negative
Depressingly positive
I swear it’s been pretty obvious

Ebbing inside
You’re living a half-life

by Ethan Dale Eagar


Wormhole’s Shadow Might Be Detectable, Fascinating and Confusing

ship thru a wormhole

Wormholes are hypothetical,
So hypothetically,
They may leave traces in the sky
That telescopes could see.

Where space-time is so warped,
might trace a ring,
While others falling through the pipe,
Leave dark where light had been.

Not my own reflector
To search for wormhole tubes,
But radio astronomy
Linked across the globe.

Confirming wormholes would confuse
What we know of gravity,
But since that force still puzzles us
They’d mesh abstractedly.

by Kate Rauner

Chandrasekhar Limit

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.

 by Richard Maxson