Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 30: Sky Flat

Stars fade and sleep calls
after a night rich
with callers from other worlds
but one task remains.

We could close the dome,
fire up the lamps,
and stare at the wall.
But why end the night on such a
sterile note?

Instead, let's turn off the drive
and luxuriate
as the dawn performs works
of modern art for our use:
Jasper Johns or Mike Rothko
or Brice Marden.
The sky will give us
a proper send-off until
next we work together.

(Image: The Dylan Painting, Brice Marden. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)


This is the last poem of NaPoWriMo 2014 for me. Thank you all!  Now back to irregularly non-scheduled music until next year (unless I feel like writing something before then)...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 29: Herschel visits Laurel

Would Herschel envy me?
The world's books at a few keystrokes,
and excellent calculations.
Spacecraft imagery and
photographic portraits
adorning my office,
an electric kettle
to offer him tea
while we listen to a recording
of his symphony 17 in C major.

Or would he watch
as I slog through spam
and don't listen to telecons,
and struggling to find time
to write
to observe
and much rather find himself
in the Bath?

Monday, April 28, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 28: Reminder

When the world seems to be pressing in
and unseen forces look to be
closing off paths
and holding us on orbits,
when it feels like we're fighting just to keep pace
and our cares attract more cares,
worries attract more worries
like they have their own inertial mass and
it is good to get out
under the sky
and be reminded of all that is out there for us
if we can remember to turn our eyes upward.

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 27: Mensa for Lyra

The evening's last flight
Trades southern cross for northern,
Mensa for Lyra.


Posted here a day late because of travel, but posted to Twitter on time! :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 26: Two Travelers

A photon departs
at wheels up,
goodbye wave
wave goodbye
traverses the dark,
with dark continents below,
desert and cloud,
rock and water.

A deflection at Mokum,
refracted by sea goddess,
now both wing across greater seas.

Eyes to the Bull
with luggage in hand,
wave hello
as two travelers meet.

Friday, April 25, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 25: Mens et Mensa

Heavenly apparition outshone
by earthly table
set with beauty
for the scatterlings of the galaxy.

Invisible from home
or am I just not looking
with sufficient good hope?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 24: Code Names

How evocative the codes
for the initiated
MN4 swamped by tsunami
SF36 with otter's whiskers
FG3 coupled but still wooing suiters
TC3 the uninvited guest.
Less euphonious than the gods,
but potentially no less mighty.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NaPoWriMo2014 Post 23: A Favorite Gem

Do we alone know the Sun?
Does it shine in other constellations,
bright and honored, as the eye
of a wise leader?
A favorite gem in a heavenly necklace?
Or does it reside in the middle of a list
of middle-sized stars
in a poorly-read article
about potentially habitable stars,
loved by only a few?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 22: Sojourn for truth

We cannot stop with
just one sojourn for truth.
We should travel together
if we are to travel at all,
not just a rock named for Tenzing
but a team under his command,
Henson not forgotten
amid the white wastes
but taking first steps
on a red planet,
not content to put Sacagawea
on the front of a coin
but front and center
on truly new worlds.

Monday, April 21, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 21: Frames defined by the air

We look through windows
with frames defined by the air.
from a newer breed
of disk cameras.
Even the color-blind
can tell red from gray,
stone from soot,
oh from gee.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 20: Unreflective Quarry

Another night in the high castle
with the galaxy swirling above.
We wring what we can
from our unreflective quarry.
Ghosts of
Lourenço Marques and Salisbury
nourish our bodies,
stereo admonishes
we're wasting time sitting still.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 19: They too watched the skies

They too watched the skies;
Names lost to time,
Measuring distance by verses
Guided by song and music
To lands newly-born.

They too knew the stars,
Though working in the shadows.
Love's labors for boss and brother
Did they see they were the
Other half of the sky?

They too watched the skies;
Before Mensa was Mensa
They could see the dogs pin the warrior
Hoping with faith they could also
Walk together.

Friday, April 18, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 18: Yet it still moves

No hulk remains,
no crash site for future scientists
or tourists,
no shrine to visit
or park to establish.
No crater to image
in rock or dust or ice.

It was not captured
by sand it was studying,
nor die a quiet death
as summer turned to winter
or as half-lives slowly mounted.

It will never
see the Sun again
even if it had a camera.

Instead it fell
into a hungry, grasping world
that took it apart piece by piece,
element by element,
and consumed it whole.
Yet it still moves.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 17: Take the come bet

With enough time
even a modest telescope
could tell a giant desk
from a giant die.

It could tell how many pips
were facing you
or if the tumbling die
is a stone.

But to find out if it's fuzzy
or if the die is loaded,
space agencies would need to
take the come bet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 16: Redshifted Life

I spend the night
only a few hundredths of a light second
from my usual spot
but I feel much further behind
and receding at every moment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 15: Utopia, Almost

Basalt caps and red rocks.
Desert paved with
chips of past lavas,
environmental spoor

Utopia, almost.
Uncanny hillside
with echoes of greener valleys.
But the stars here are different
and even closer.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 14: The Mount

We think of the telescope
but rarely the mount;
sturdy but smooth,
with sky,
holding the
hours and minutes
and seconds
for us
until we think
we are ready
to move on.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 13: Swapping stories

With one sight line
straight to Antarctica
and another straight
to the Sun,
we still used
our inside voices
teasing out stories from the rocks
while sharing our stories with the waves.

Soon we hope to
fill our glasses
with still more
stories from worlds
that have
hitherto only whispered
into an endless void.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 12: Catching up with Isaac.

If I explained this journey to Newton,
DC to Cape Town
by airplane,
He'd think me a madman.

Amsterdam and Jupiter
would seem familiar
He'd know the value
of telescopes.
But catching him up
on Washington and CCDs
and the NSF
would be rough going
assuming he didn't tune me out
to muse about numerology.

I bet he'd follow
the restricted three body problem
in no time, though,
and he'd likely be quietly
disappointed I wasn't using
a Newtonian.

Friday, April 11, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 11: Women with capes

If the Mercury Seven were the Fantastic Four
and Smallville predated Peenemünde,
in a world more Sivana than Sagan,
why would we look? Why
would we go?

Does Metropolis University
offer an astronomy degree?
Are their sample return capsules
carried by women with capes?

At least
planetary defense strategies
seem straightforward there.
Still, I suspect
I might have gone into the
restoration business.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 10: The Summer Cottage

They thought of it as a starter home
but it was more of a fixer-upper
than they'd hoped;
The awning was down,
the power was out,
and the nearest hardware store was
hundreds of miles away
at best.

The chores piled up
and there was always something else
to do
as if they'd waste away
Sometimes they just wanted to
trade records with the neighbors
and sit watching the water.

After a few summers there
their ride disappeared.
They kept hoping to come back
but the elements
brought down the cottage
into the water.

They never did have the neighbors over,
though they did hitch
their camper vans together
and drink vodka.
Did they all look longingly
at the Moon overhead?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 9: Children of the Fire God

Everywhere there can be asteroids
we find them:
filling the space between planets,
orbiting with planets
with paths crossing planets.
We find them every place
but one.

Children of the fire god,
we expected them huddled close.
Descriptions abound, like mermaids
or unicorns or jungle walruses
we think know what we're looking for.

But we've received no messages,
only seen trails of inbound cruisers
shedding their coats
for a few moments of sun.
No forged corundum,
just a conundrum.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 8: The Neighbor Girl

I've been wondering about the neighbor girl.
She's so obviously bright
but I think she had a turbulent past.
It's hard to get through and see
what she's really about.

I know she used to see someone--
it seemed serious.
But I think that ended a while ago.
Some friends checked on her and said
she's still steaming.
Maybe we should drop by ourselves?

Monday, April 7, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 7: Consolation

There are uncounted ways
things could have gone
wrong for us
Too red a sun
or too blue,
too weak a magnetic field,
too little ozone.

This could be a
more violent
niceties aside,
or Jupiter could have been
a party-crasher,
sending Mercury rising.

This is, admittedly,
little consolation
for the passenger pigeon.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 6: We mostly fail

We mostly fail,
with uncontrolled controls
and undetected impurities.
We fail with bugs hidden
in uncommented code
and non-negligible effects
neglected anyhow.
We fail from changing skies
and sub-standard standard stars.

We fail by misestimating costs,
we fail by misapprehending risks,
we fail by overselling our instruments,
we fail by letting ourselves
be rushed
and pressured
and talked into things.

We mostly fail,
and we mostly know it.

But when we succeed
we know that, too.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 5: Time Crunch

A million-year process,
droplets of molten beginnings
circle a diminishing gyre
as a center tries to hold.

Ice melts, iron rusts.

Twenty-nine days
at the telescope
over a dozen years.
Clouds, ice, wind,
and glorious skies.

Drives fill, students graduate.

How can I not find
two hours
to finish this paper?

Friday, April 4, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 4: Gravity never fails but it can be bested

Gravity never fails
but it can be bested
if only for short times
and only certain scales.

Indeed, we can test it
and where strong sunlight shines
we can look at details
of how particles rested.

The charging of the fines
moves them from hills to vales,
craters left congested
with past levitation's shrines.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 3: Wander Lonely from the Cloud

always alone
the sun a rumor,
parental warmth

who gave the push
is unknown
perhaps unknowable
but there is
always a pusher.

some jump in
skin flayed by
as we gawk at their slow demise
and record it all
for posterity
for science.

but so many
slip surly bonds and
wander lonely
from the cloud

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 2: Search

Would we know them if we saw them?
We are trained,
to expect cylinders
landing in New Jersey,
prime numbers from Vega.

With each paper
we find ourselves
closer to
further from
the answer.
Super-earths and nano-cubes
are belied by firm fact
and absence of evidence.
Still plans continue to explore
Oak Island
on Mars
or Europa
or Titan.
There's a hunch the game's not over
even if they're not inside the room.

Dragon-born, we send semiprimes
and Chuck Berry
but our planet leaks Baywatch.
Do they love Lucy?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014, Post 1: Three Muses

Welcome back, Erato, for your yearly trip
to reside here on my humble site.
I ask you for a little skill so that I can equip
some quality in everything I write.

And once again, Urania, you find some extra time
as the winter fades and summer draws e'er close.
So I ask for inspiration as I begin these rhymes
so that I can worthily compose
a month's worth of poetry--30 days of verse
dedicated to your heavenly charms.
And if you notice that my work is going bad to worse
don't hesitate to sound all the alarms.

You're off the hook, Euterpe. Go on and take five.
Your sisters have you covered until May.
Though guitars may be idle my love for you survives
and if perhaps you think you'd rather stay
I wouldn't have it any other way.