Star-Glazing

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman giving a lecture on the motion of planets around the Sun

Star-Glazing

(after Walt Whitman)

When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer,
When the proofs and figures were ranged
In columns before me, to add and measure,
When shown his charts and diagrams strange,
When I, sitting, heard the Astronomer,
Where he lectured with much applause,
How soon, tired and sick, I stirred
And wander’d off by myself outdoors.
There in mystical moist night-airs,
From time to time I look’d up clear
In perfect silence at the stars,
(And thought them small, and rather near.)

This is my take on Walt Whitman’s poem of the opening line. I’ve shuffled things around and made it rhyme, but most of it is his words except for the last line. Turns out he was just a luddite after all.

Falling Worlds

pexels-photo-776243.jpeg
Photo by Henrik Pfitzenmaier on Pexels.com

 

Falling Worlds

(After Molière, The Learnèd Ladies, Act 3, Scene 3)

Another world has passed us by
Just as we were sleeping,
And fallen through our vortex as we lie;
A happenstance unseen across our sky.
For all the while the linens we were keeping,
A momentary spark can live and die.

 

 

Lunar Eclipse

lunar eclipse
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

 

Lunar Eclipse

Last night, there was a blooded moon,
Eclipsed at perigee –
For once the clouds all stayed in bed,
And let her wander free.
She slipped into totality
At just passed half-past three,
She must have made a pretty sight,
But one I did not see…

I chanced awake at ten-past two,
And saw her dimming light,
But didn’t stay to catch the show
And soon bid her goodnight.
I woke again long after dawn
And knew I’d chosen right:
For all the views across the news
Make such a pretty sight !

 

 

We Choose to Go to the Moon & Do the Other Things

sky space moon astronomy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

We Choose to Go to the Moon & Do the Other Things

We went to the moon and we wondered in awe:
For now there was nothing, but nothing beyond us –
If we could go there and could see what we saw,
Then how could we come back to famine and war ?
Just think of the challenges still to explore,
The missions to finally bond us.
We stood on the moon and we finally shone,
We tested our nerve and we found we were equal –
Now climate and poverty prove a tough sequel.
But conquer we shall !, to learn from discoverings.
We went to the moon, now it’s time to move on –
It’s time to be doing the Other Things.

 

Out There

moon and stars
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

 

Out There

Life, it shouldn’t be so rare;
I don’t mean Mars or Venus.
There isn’t much can flourish there –
Bacteria, perhaps, can bear,
But higher life is pretty spare;
Too harsh for such a genus.
Yet surely in the Milky Way,
How many planets must convey
A goldilocks for genes at play ?
They surely must have seen us.

Life, it shouldn’t be alone;
It seeks out other threads, where
On planets older than our own
They should have let themselves be known
Across the interstellar zone –
What wonders might have bred there ?
The distances, of course, are vast,
Yet still we should receive the blast
Of radio from light years’ past –
Yet all we get is dead air.

 

 

Astro Quizzics

astronomy circle dark eclipse
Photo by Drew Rae on Pexels.com

 

Astro Quizzics

Do you suppose of all the stars
Within the galaxy,
Do you suppose of all the worlds
That loop them endlessly,
Do you suppose of all the moons
In orbit, there could be
Another moon which occultates
Its sun so perfectly ?

Do you suppose of all those worlds,
How many must have rings ?
Do you suppose they’re dark and faint,
And wispy, puny things ?
Do you suppose those Saturnine
Are pan-galactic kings ?
This matchless set of haloes bright,
These golden angel wings .

Do you suppose of all those worlds
That circle all those stars,
Do you suppose another world
Has oceans, lakes and spas ?
Do you suppose they’ve Amethysts
Or slates and cinnabars,
Or elephants, or cockatoos ?
Or bees and jaguars ?

Do you suppose of all the worlds
Within our galaxy,
Do you suppose another world
Is looking back at me ?
Do you suppose they might suppose
How distant I must be ?
Do you suppose they’ll ever know
What wonders I can see ?

 

 

Radio Galileo

Jupiter & Europa
Jupiter & Europa by NASA

 

Radio Galileo

…and up in five, it’s the news on the hour.
But first, here’s ten thousand watts of power
Pumping our signals to the Jovian system –
Even the Great Red Spot can’t resist ‘em !
They’re listening-in to our Hawkwind and Floyd,
A pirate station from across the void.
So going out to you super Jupers:
A radio clash of aural ammunition,
Rocking you out of your frozen stupors.
Listen-up, Europans, to our FM transmission
Of hazy cosmic jive.

Ev’ry sha-la-la-la is a sonic bomb
At the speed of light – can you hear me, Major Tom ?
But just in case our trace is erratic,
But just in-case we’re nothing but static –
If only our carrier signal is reaching
With a constant hiss and white-noise bleaching;
Then dudes, what can I say, it’s the same old saga.
But pulsing now from the broadcast-tower,
This one’s for you: here’s Radio Ga Ga.
We have the time, we have the power,
To bring your air alive.