Far out, weird, whatever.
Rising before dawn I venture out,
climbing the moonlit hill
beyond the house.
My feet make no sound
crushing the damp grass.
As the comet, fiery tailed,
follows its timeless course
through the meteor belt,
I manoeuvre myself
through a barb-wire fence.
As transmitting stars, light years apart
send static signals across your rushing path,
I walk among the staring cows,
motionless in groups as though
enacting a nativity scenario.
Glittering planets, diamond sharp,
Litter the vast vault of night.
to the south-east I think I see you,
a faint smudge above the cow shed,
as pale dawn lights up the eastern sky.
Halley’s Comet has been at the centre of a few historical events. The first known recording of the comet was on the Bayeux Tapestry made after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.
Astronomer Edmond Halley after whom the comet was named, was the first observer, in 1705, to date its fly by of Earth approximately every 76 years. Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Clements, was born and died during Halley’s Comet visits to Earth. Mark Twain was born in 1835 and died, as he predicted, in the year of its next visit, one day after it appeared at its brightest in the year 1910.
‘Walter Mitty Space Oddity.’
If an evil genie escaped from some smoking urn
in a subterranean cave, somewhere, I dunno,
somewhere, and crossed my path in that
serendipitous way that genies have,
come out of nowhere, black swan-like,
to offer just one wish, three being
over generous in the circumstances,
and this one wish heavily circumscribed.
‘You will become something other than
what now you are, something, not someone,
non-animal, even non-vegetable, that’s it, okay,
these will be the genie rules by which you’ll play.’
So what’s it to be apropos this circumscribed
scenario? I know, I’ll choose to be, risen
phoenix-like from the ashes, the Alexandria
Library. Oh those books, those journeys
by human minds now extinct. What thoughts,
scintillating in their day, rays of enlightenment,
motes of glinting imagination, gone. Kaput!
Never to reverberate down the ages, dammit!
Wonders will never cease! The human brain
weighs about three pounds, give or take a few grams,
made of matter laced with interactive pathways
that transmit signals in the blink of an eye.
Think about it, consider what’s been created via
human matter transcending its limitations:
languages for instance, Bantu, Latin, lingua-franca,
Fortran, Lisp, also beverages, wine in glass goblets,
tea sipped from china cups, tea-dances, tight-rope
walking and all those other circus-tricks. Then
there’s serious stuff, alphabets ‘n such, philosophy,
poetry, sonnets and sonatas, symphonies, ‘The Sound
of Music.’ musical instruments, pianos, piccolos,
violins and all those other technologies from
Promethean fire-stick to bows and arrows,
steam-powered machines, jet-propelled moon-
flights, trial and error practices likely to
involve abstruse physics and mathematics.
Far out when you think about it, all this
evolving from the machinations of
a three pound human brain.
ARISTARCHUS OF SAMOS.
Nerdy types will likely
have heard of Aristarchus
of Samos, ancient Greek
astronomer and mathematician
who first hypothesized,
almost two millennia
before Copernicus, that
Earth revolves around the
sun on the circumference
of a circle. Furthermore,
Aristarchus suspected that
the stars were also suns,
too far distant for parallax
to be observed by us here
on Earth, travelling our
heliocentric course. This
was, of course, before
the advent of the telescope.
COPERNICUS. 1473 – 1543.
For he once held a universe
in his imagination, questioned
the consensus of fixed stars in
the heavens and an unmoving
Earth that’s circled by the sun.
In his imagination he envisioned
and calculated in its place
the space odyssey of
a restless Earth orbiting
the sun. – Until this, the rush
of blood to his cortex,
destroying a universe.
Space measurement facts to keep in yr head:
*One light year =587,849,981 x 1012 miles or 186, 282 miles per second. Think about it!
Tempus fugit, dear reader.
*Although a couple of dozen minor galaxies lie closer to our Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, M31, is our closest large galaxy neighbor, just 2.3 million light years away. You can see it with the naked eye, using the M or W shaped constellation Cassiopia to find it with the star Schedar pointing to it.