Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 Poetry Post 26: Some Perspective

A click moves
hundreds of tons of metal
six time zones away
to spend five seconds
collecting photons
emitted decades ago
trillions of kilometers from here,
bounce them onto a crystal
of antimony and indium
to loosen electrons
and create an image
of a star
more than
one hundred times fainter
than a human eye can see.

Still, I am impatient.


(Image from the Mount Hamilton Landolt Standard Star List:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 Poetry Post 25: Very Different

"I'm glad I own property on this side of the Hudson
because it's not the side that's subducting."  she said 
as she mixed the butter and coffee concoction.
She went on about the asteroids she finds in her yard 
but I was caught up in whether the cows had to be grass-fed. 

He told me "I've been reading up on all this stuff. 
I know all about Europa and Titus 
And all the planets Kipling is finding."
I nodded a bit absently. 
At least he wasn't talking about the Mets 
for once.

"Oh, you're an astronomer not an astrologer?"
he corrected himself. 
"They're totally different, aren't they;
It'd be like mistaking a mathematician for an English teacher."
I paused and considered 
and simply agreed they are indeed
very different.

Friday, April 24, 2015

2015 Poetry Post 24: Fellow Travellers

we cannot always agree
on red or white,
the lake or the dunes.
i confess
i resent
when you’re
“a bit short”
and you sheepishly promise
to buy the next round
(or not so sheepishly
pretend not to notice).
but i do enjoy our travel together
and i am happy to
celebrate your successes
even if i inevitably
enjoy mine a little more.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 Poetry Post 23: On Finishing Things

it is harder to finish things
than it was
when i was younger.
i can cast aspersions
on the streaming decks
or blame distraction
from posies or jayhawks
or other voices.
i can note the mounting
and a lengthening reading list
from better-looking people
with better ideas
and more talent
(who are actually really, really nice).
but if i look at the problem,
there just seems
like there’s always
more to say
and i can’t do the universe
any justice.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 Poetry Post 22: Earth Day

How soon could we have known
that it would be different,
that it would be special?
When would the modelers
have written the papers
saying the further one
was a red herring
and the closer one was doomed;
the icy and oily ones were places to go
but not places to be from,
and all the others were non-starters.
But the third one—
that had real potential,
as long as something
(or someone)
didn’t screw it up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Poetry Post 21: Shared Vision

long-awaited birth.
embarrassed eyes
turned away
but maturity brought
shared vision.
even in dotage
it towers
over a deep field.
we can look
to those calling
for early retirement and ask
who was near-sighted?

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Poetry Post 20: Re-entry

the unreality of my surroundings,
unmoored from the familiar,
the strange food and sleep schedule,
the science i strive understand
that’s been my job 24/7
now pauses
for re-entry:
not through fire and parachutes,
but crosswords
and blessed sleep.