LIGO

 

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

 

Leaving Gondwana

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

Farewell Philae – For now

 

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

https://astropoetry.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/farewell-philae-for-now/

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

https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/2018/08/25/space-within/

Geology

We dug deep
to explore all the layers of us
and to expose them one by one
The outer curst was solid first
with rigid tectonic plates
We used to wear them as masks

But underneath things were more liquid
And hidden undercurrents
and seismic waves could make
the upper layers shake

We dug even deeper
And the deeper we went
the more the temperatures increased
The magnetic fields pulled us
Forces we couldn’t resist

Until we reached
the deepest depth of love
And we both melted
in hot burning magma
that could only go up
In a fountain of lava
the volcano erupted

©RoseGirl2019

Al Bean

Al Bean left NASA
to paint
with an unconventional palette

heat shield particles
and Moon dust
and Command Module gold
mixed in with

the ordinary colours
of Earth

From the blog of Tychogirl, who specialises in Astro-poetry,

https://tychogirl.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/al-bean/

 

bean

In the Fifth Chamber Lies the Hour’s End

To fairly allocate irrigation resources, the Persians measured time with water,
sinking a bowl in a larger vessel and tallying the count with pebbles.

And what is time but counting, determining the number of units within a set?

The sum of beats between silences and their diminishing echoes?

Its symbol in the West grew from fig and ivy leaves, while early medical
illustrations depicted pine cone-shaped organs.

In most reptilians, the aorta receives only oxygenated blood.

Qanats pump by gravity. The hagfish’s second resides in its tail.

Recognize the empty as full. Squeezed shut, we open.
Contraction and flow, ejection, inflow, relaxation.

Emotion as electrical impulse. Murmuring valves. The color red.

The fifth chamber remains silent and undetected.

The primitive fish’s chambers are arranged sequentially, but in an S-shape.
Ancients believed arteries transported air through the body.

The Buddhist figure, too, originated in leaves, symbolizing not love

but enlightenment. The ache of failure confounds us.

By Robert Okaji

https://robertokaji.com/2016/05/20/in-the-fifth-chamber-lies-the-hours-end/#comment-16560

And with many apologies to Robert for not attributing the poem to him when it was first posted. Somehow, one of our editors managed to miss this….