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
Now all alone, north-east it slowly drifts.
Just inch by inch the mighty mass it slides.
An island of gigantic size — it shifts,
As on its shores now beat the timeless tides.
Upon a sea of molten rock it glides;
It slips — it’s driven by a starry force —
An engine that within its body hides,
Propelling it far from its primal source.
It journeys on a strange uncharted course,
Escaping from its motherland; its home
Now far behind, yet it feels no remorse —
Young continents, like children, tend to roam.
No trail it leaves; there is no wake to west.
It never tires, and never will it rest.
by D.N. O’Brien
Copyright © 2019 D.N. O’Brien
Beneath sheets of sparkling frost,
Lost Philae sleeps now, and will doze
Until, one day, who knows when,
Men and women from Earth,
Their boots crusted with clods of soot-black comet
Dust and snow will crump slowly across
67P’s frozen plains and see it –
A glint of gold in a shadow,
High up on a crumbling cliff’s side,
Shining like a wolf’s eye.
And then the Fellowship of Philae
Will hike up Seth’s serrated cliffs
Until, high above Hapi’s sands
They’ll reach out with shaking hands
And drag it from its icy tomb
Into the light, setting it upright again,
Brushing years of ice and dust
From its face before taking it
To its final resting place – a glass case
At ESOC, spotlights warming it,
Thawing a century of frostbite…
But for now, Philae sleeps,
Without Rosetta’s alarm clock beep-beep-beep
Interrupting its dreams
Of what might have been,
If only those hapless harpoons had fired…
If only it hadn’t bounced like a rubber ball…
If only it hadn’t fallen into that dark place,
Landing, legs splayed,
In a lonely hole hidden from the Sun’s precious rays…
(c) Stuart Atkinson 2016
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
Al Bean left NASA
with an unconventional palette
heat shield particles
and Moon dust
and Command Module gold
mixed in with
the ordinary colours
From the blog of Tychogirl, who specialises in Astro-poetry,
A February 28, 1914 Scientific American article redacted into a poem about Voyager’s journey into interstellar space.
from TychoGirl : https://tychogirl.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/interstellar-space-a-dipytch/