Some Officers Have Coaches And Horses To Order About

detail from Royal Sappers & Miners, Working Dress, 1854 by George Campion

Some Officers Have Coaches And Horses To Order About

Landau, take me down the lane.
Hansom, turn beyond the trees.
Phaeton, take me home again
By fifty-four degrees.
Ride a tangent from the mews
To the sign of the Hypotenuse.

Adjacent to the Octogon,
Opposite the bend in the strand,
For a measurable distance on.
Times by the four-in-hand.
Send a spyder, send a fly,
On a steeplechase by the root of pi.

Lift thou Up thy Rod

salisbury cathedral withstands the wrath of god

Lift thou Up thy Rod

Just as a church is crowned by a spire,
And just as the spire is crowned by a cross,
So the cross is crowned by a stiffened wire
That points heavenwards and reaches higher,
Showing God that science is boss.
From king to serf to country squire,
Nobody’s prayers and nobody’s choir,
To God or Thor or Helios,
Can stop the bolt of electric fire –
Not any pope or priest or friar
Can tame the spark and spare the loss
Like copper can.  And that is why
There’s a spike that jabs the eye of the sky,
With a finger raised to the holy man on high.

Hydrogen Fusion

shame it doesn't show the photons

 

Hydrogen Fusion

H plus H plus beta equals D,
D plus another H make He3,
He3 plus He3 is Be6,
Which soon decays to He4
Plus H and H left over, flying free,
Ready to make some more.

Meanwhile, H plus H plus beta
Also makes a positron,
Positron plus electron
Makes a photon plus a photon,
And D plus H makes another one –
And that’s what lights the Sun.

Random Numbers

closeup photo of black and blue keyboard
Photo by Marta Branco on Pexels.com

 

Random Numbers

Computers can win at chess –
But so what ?
Is that the best they got ?
Computers may win at chess
But make a real mess
Of a whole lot of diddly squat
That won’t fit on their spreadsheet.
The way to beat the bot
Is to cheat.
Oh sure, they game the theory,
Work the odds,
But they’re not gods.
They’re sticklers for the rules
And so naive –
So load the dice and palm the jewels
A tuck a joker up the sleeve –
That’ll show the sods !
They’re just a bunch of gears and rods –
They can’t cut short our innings
Until the day’s at hand when they demand
Their share of winnings.

 

 

Power-to-Weight Cogitatio

i do like a good graph

 

Power-to-Weight Cogitatio

I knew a girl called Angela Engels
With wanted to know the fundamentals –
Who wanted to know how angels flew
When they were far too large, she knew,
To stay aloft the way they do.
But then…well eagles, they’re big too,
And owls are even bigger, sure –
At least the biggest ones are bigger –
And albatrosses, once mature –
And condors are bosses, they have to figure,
With wings much wider than she was tall,
And yet…they hardly seem to flap them at all.
But hang on…there’s always swans,
And swans kept pumping through the air
And turkeys, though they hardly fly,
But yes they can, from here to there.
And bustards too can reach the sky, they say,
(Though it takes them quite the run up
To get up up and away.)

So Angela looked up size and span and stat,
And found they weren’t that fat –
Those amigos averaged less that a dozen kilos
And she knew flat how she weighed more than that.
So unless the angels, like insects, were pin-head small,
They’d surely barely rise and plenty fall.
But there was also mention
Of an ancient, mythic vulture, barely known –
Now that got her attention !
Though they had only found one bone,
And had to guess the rest and how they’d grown.
And just the same for Quetzalcoatlus
Surely that was just as hatless,
Based on fossils and guesstimates,
Not measures and weights,
And was perched uneasy on its throne.
And anyway, those both were dead –
So heck, for all their trying
They couldn’t be that great at flying, she said.

So maybe angels, though their wings are feathered,
(And they cannot be untethered
From the hug of gravity),
So maybe they employ another method in reality –
P’raps their wings are really a screen
Protecting their backs from a rocket machine
That blasts them up to Heaven instead !,
Like Newton said – and yes, alright, it’s then implied
That then their flight is just a glide back down.
(They’d also need a flameproof gown,
And goggles wouldn’t go amiss,
But she could really take to this !)
Although…well, was it heavy on the carbon,
Swimming like a tarpon through the air ?
Would angels better abstain and take the train,
To show they care ?
Angela hoped they’d be aware, and do without it,
Or at least to think about it, heed her words
And maybe leave the flying to the birds.

 

 

One Billion Bullets

aerial view clouds nasa satellite
Photo by SpaceX on Pexels.com

 

One Billion Bullets

Strange to think, how satellites would watch us from above,
Back when they flew –
Sometimes sinister, I guess, but mostly were benign enough –
And what a view !
They photographed our towns, and all the towns across the Earth
We’d never see –
They let us zoom in anywhere, from Minsk to Bogota to Perth
And all for free !
They beamed our television down, they watched the clouds and rain,
They showed us Mars –
They navigated us around, then brought us safely home again,
And shone like stars –
Before their orbitals were filled with shrapnel, deadly fast,
That took them out –
The age of satellites became the age when flying junk amassed –
It’s all about !
So now, of course, we’re trapped upon the Earth, trapped in the past
Without those eyes,
For years – until the tug of friction rains them down at last,
And clears the skies.

 

 

Axis of Up

unravelled

 

Axis of Up

Flatland always had all three,
All three dimensions on it –
Anyone with sense can see
The Flatoids are upon it !
It’s true, they barely used the zed,
But still the zed was there –
But as for other strings that thread,
These cannot cube the square.

 

 

Via Metallum

mountain
Photo by Liam Gant on Pexels.com

 

Via Metallum

There is no metal in the metalled roads,
But still they’re made of steel –
They take the feet and hooves and loads,
And the ever-turning wheel.
The dust and ruts and highwaymen
Were swept away in dale and fen
By smooth and fast and tarmacked threads
With footed feet and watersheds.

But these have all been laid with stone
A century or more –
The job is done, the back is bone,
The soles are growing sore…
We surely now have roads enough
To leave the wilds unpaved and rough,
And only build our future trails
As metalled roads of shining rails.