Archive for the ‘Cosmos’ Category

Three gleaming planets
lined up in the eastern sky
covered in robots.

Lately I’ve been waking up to Venus shining in my bedroom window. Yesterday I learned she wasn’t alone; this morning I went out to see Venus, Mars, and Jupiter lined up in the sky, with the crescent moon shining overhead and Orion keeping watch alongside. Mercury might have been visible too, if I’d had a clear horizon.

Earthsky’s Visible Planets

Mars is much made of these days, with its water and its Ridley Scott movie and its Curiosity Rover. The red planet has quite a complement of robots aboard: active rovers Curiosity and Opportunity, orbiters Odyssey, Express, MRO, MOM, and Maven, and a whole litter of past missions. Venus most recently played host to Messenger, but has its own share of defunct machines scattered about. Galileo orbited Jupiter for two years and dropped an atmospheric probe before falling to its own demise in the gas giant’s eternal haze. It was startling to look up at those specks in the sky and realize that humanity has touched them.

Saturn is an evening star these days. If Portland’s own eternal haze should lift tonight, I’ll look for that gleaming yellow speck and think of Cassini.

Earth, the pale blue dot.

Earth, the pale blue dot.


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The pale blue dot
so still from space
serene, placid, and composed
up close, its seething masses shrill
their anger and their fear
their pain
Out there, amidst the black
the voices fade
the calm, the quiet overtake
down here, the noise rains down
barrage upon the stronghold of the soul.

From afar it seems so peaceful
so tranquil, the pale blue dot
solidarity enshrined in that single pixel
a lone world and its lone people
united against the black.
Instead the tide of humanity
erodes the bedrock of its home
hope fades
blue flame burns away the dream.



Photo credit: NASA/JPL

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Futile planet
alone against the black
victim to the roiling whims
of heartless matter and indifferent energy.

So permanent she seems
drifting through space, serene
temporary as a spark
doomed as a snowflake
without hope or recourse
without friend or ally.

So brief our time
filled end to end with movement
misery, drama
perpetual absurdity
in the sure face of inescapable extinction.

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Three brilliant worlds setting

all in a row

in the east shines Venus

impossibly bright

coyly ducking among the morning clouds

then stepping forth proudly

all ablaze.

In the west, Jupiter

steady and sure

gleams stark against the deep pre-dawn blue.

Between them, Earth

spinning invisibly

her pale blue light shining

she takes her place among the stars.

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Night Beacon

Wandering star

your steady light shining

through mist and cloud and fog.

Jupiter, mighty

five hundred million distant

lofty, never-ending miles

now but a brilliant speck

a brighter star among the multitudes.

Why is it

so corporeal a thing

vast and absolute

conjures up dreams?

How is it fantasy

visions in my mind

may be more real

than the life before my eyes?

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October dawn

The moon in the west
her night’s work done, she goes to her daily rest.

not wishing to go gently
he shines his brightest
in vain hope of outlasting the sun.

dog star
shepherd of summer
stands ready in the south
to lead his charge homeward.

morning star
herald of dawn
in the east rises
proclaiming day.

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The wave divided
bouncing, dancing,
split in two
or three, or thousands
particles, every which way
the -ons and -arks
and anti’s
matter seething, born
creating vanishing
being never been.
Reality, unreal, vague and fluid
moving changing
unseen, immeasurable
here and gone
a thing and nothing
something else.
The world so solid
firm beneath our feet
clear before our eyes and ears
fingers, noses
there is nothing there
at all.

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