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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 3:01 pm 


Halley was a sea captain, a cartographer, a professor
Of geometry, a deputy of the Royal Mint, an astronomer,
And the inventor of the deep-sea diving bell,
And wrote some on magnetism, tides,
Planet motions, and fondly on opium.

He invented the weather map and actuarial table ages,
Even proposed methods to work out the Earth’s old age,
Its distance from the sun, even how to keep fresh fish,
But one thing he didn’t do was to discover Halley’ comet,
For he merely noted that it was yet another return of it.

He made a wager with Robert Hooke, the cell describer,
And with the great and stately Christopher Wren:
They bet upon why the planets’ orbit were ellipses.

Hooke, a known credit-taker,
Claimed he’d solved the problem,
But had to conceal it
So that others could yet know the satisfaction.

Well, Halley became consumed with finding the answer,
So he called upon the Lucasian Mathematics Professor.
Isaac Newton was indeed brilliant beyond measure,
But was solitary, joyless, paranoid—no pleasure.

Once he had inserted a needle in his eye and poked around,
Far inserting the bodkin between the eye and the bone.
Another time, he’d stared at the sun for so very long
That he had to spend many days in a darkened room.

Frustrated by mathematics, Isaac invented the calculus,
And then for twenty-seven years kept it hidden from us.
Likewise, he did the same with the understanding of light
And spectroscopy, keeping it for thirty years in the dark.

For Newton,
Science was but a partial part of his life’s routes,
For much of his time
Was given to alchemy and religious pursuits.

He was wholeheartedly devoted
To the religion of Arianism,
Whose main tenet was
That there could be no Holy Trinity.

Ironically, he worked as a Professor at Trinity College,
Although the only one there who was not Anglican.
He also spent an inordinate amount of time studying
The floor plan of the lost temple of Solomon the King,
Even learning Hebrew, the better to scan the texts.

Another single minded quest was
To turn base metals into precious ones,
His papers revealing this preoccupation
Over optics and planetary motions and such mentations.

Well, Halley asked Newton what the curve would be
If the planets’ attraction toward the sun was
The reciprocal to the square of their distance from it.
Newton promptly answered, of course, an “ellipse”.

Not finding his calculations of it
Newton not only rewrote it,
But retired for two years to produce his master work,
The Plilosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

To Halley’s horror,
Newton refused to release the crucial 3rd volume,
Without which the first two would make little sense.
There had been a dispute between Newton and Hooke
Over the priority of the inverse square law in the book.

That solved by Halley’s diplomacy, the Royal Society
Had pulled out from the publication, failing financially,
For, the year before, there had been a very costly flop
Called The History of Fishes; so, Halley himself popped
The funds for the publication out of his own pocket.

Newton contributed nothing,
As usual, and, to make matters worse,
Halley had just taken a position as the society’s clerk,
They failing to pay the promised 50 pounds to his purse,
Paying him only with very many copies of
The History of Fishes!
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 4:52 pm 


Through E=MCC we see that vast energy reserves
Are bound up in small amounts of matter, preserved.

Henri Becquerel carelessly left a packet of uranium salts
On a wrapped photographic plate in his drawer vault.

Some time later, he was surprised to discover that
The salts had burned a ‘light’ impression into it.
The salts were emitting rays of some sort, curiously,
So, he turned the matter over to Marie Curie, literally.

Madam Curie and her new husband Pierre, with glee,
Noted that the rocks poured out great amounts of energy,
But they never diminished in size or changed in any way.
They were converting mass into energy very efficiently.

They also found polonium and radium, and a Nobel prize,
Along with Becquerel, in 1903, Einstein yet on the rise.

Radioactive elements decayed into other elements,
Noted Ernest Rutherford and colleague Fredrick Soddy;
One day you had an atom of uranium that “bled”,
And the very next day you had an atom of lead.

It always took the same amount of days.
For half of the sample to decay,
And so this steady reliable rate of decay
Could be used in kind of a clocking way.

Tick-tock, how old was it?
More than 700 millions years worth!
This age was way more
Than anyone had given the Earth.
(5 billion would be closer to the answer.)

He lectured one day,
Taking out a piece of radioactive pitchblende,
Showing it to aging Kelvin,
But Kelvin rejected it to the end.
Dimitri Mendedeyev rejected it too,
As with everything new,
Ever storming out of labs
And lecture halls all over, too;
However, the 101st element
Was called mendelevium,
In his name meant,
And quite appropriately,
For it was a very unstable element.

Pierre Curie began to experience
Radiation sickness, getting weak,
But in 1906 he was fatally run over
By a carriage on a Paris street.

Marie worked on with much distinction,
But had an affair so indiscreet
That even the French were scandalized there,
And so she was never elected
To the Academy of Sciences,
Despite not just one,
But two Nobel prizes
(Physics, Chemistry).

Scientists yet thought that radioactivity was beneficial,
Putting thorium into toothpaste and laxatives as useful;
Eventually these products were banned, by 1938,
But for Madam, who’d died of leukemia,
It was much too late.

The radiation is so pernicious and long lasting
That even now her papers from the 1890’s,
And even her cookbooks, are dangerous and toxic,
So, all her lab books must be kept in lead lined boxes.
(One must wear protective clothing to look at them.)

Marie Curie was a very attractive lady, very much aglow,
For my great ancestor in his old writings such told me so.
She radiated warmth unto him as a rainbow of sparks—
“Great balls of fire!” he remarked,
“They now glow in the dark!”
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 5:12 pm 


In 1865, Hennig Brand thought that gold
Could be distilled from human urine, old,
Perhaps noting a similarity in color,
So, he kept fifty buckets in his cellar.

By some method, he converted urine
Into a noxious paste of some kind,
Then into some translucent waxy substance,
But so far there was no gold, and none hence.

However, after a time
The substance began to glow,
And when exposed to the air burst as an inferno.
The substance soon became
Known as phosphorus,
But was too costly
to make its business prosperous…

For an ounce of the flaming stuff sold
For way more than the price of gold!
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Postby RonPrice on August 17th, 2012, 8:12 pm 

Delightful responses and wonderful pieces of writing. Thanks to you all. My website now has some interesting pieces on science and poetry.-Ron


Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 10:12 pm 


“Here lieth One whose name was writ on water.”

The ‘false’ and melted vacuum was liquid energy—
Unstructured, unordered, and going nowhere,
But, then, inexplicably, it ‘fell’,
As from a kind of ‘shelf’…
Whirling, twirling and swirling inward
Until there was no more inward left.

It ‘thought’ that its future could never be,
That its quality was but written
On the water and the wind
With a feathery quill,
Whose ink was the smoke and fog
Of a shimmering dream.

Then it died… like the Phoenix.
And thus it crystalized, frozen,
Into our structured ‘true’ vacuum…

For, ere the breath that could erase it blew,
Death, in remorse for that fell slaughter,
Death, the immortalizing winter, flew
Athwart the flowing stream—
And Time’s printless torrent grew
A scroll of crystal,
Blazoning the name
Of ‘The Universe’!
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 10:14 pm 


The quarks, those constituents of the orgy,
Playfully bound within the nucleons’ chamber,
Are named up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top,
The last two once being called beauty, and truth;

However, when just one of a type was contained
It became referred to, say, as a naked beauty,
And thus nude tops and bottoms their charms revealed—
To ever be in closeness binding, and bonding,

So, they even tried just u, d, s, c, b, and t,
To prevent some ultimate collapse of physics,
But the truth of the flavors beneath the veils
Remained as the sheerest vision preferred.

So, we have these vibrant dancing ladies:
The naked heavyweight top, charming up,
And, down, the strange beauty of the raw truth,
With a bare bottom just around and behind.

They gyrate, spinning their charms, twirling,
In the universal dance of stunning motion,
The polarity sometimes reversed,
Whirling, their bottoms up and tops down.

And then there are Eden’s many colors,
In this flower garden filled with flavors,
Such as red bottom beauties, blue tops,
And magenta undulations unstopped.

Gluons are the bees of the flower beds,
Carrying pollen back and forth to bond
The many relationships that make
This loved world go ‘round as reality.

Eyed in views that probe the fundamental,
Quarks strangely swirl in and out of sight,
Pulsing, throbbing with elemental delight,
In and out—the love-made life of eternity.

These attractions in the altogether, denuded
In the buff, became the strong force, manifest,
That the mother-nature-naked terms exposed
To denote the stark beauty of truth uncovered.


Naked quarks would really love to go wild and dance,
But there’s only a finite amount of energy and chance;
So, they would spiral out of control, having quite a blast!
Such, they have been confined within the proton—to last.

They’re made bottoms-up;
Can we see them tops-down, a go-go?

No, for the quantum censor protects the charm show,
Their strange beauty and flavor bound up and down,
As the proton is much immune to disturbance around.


They were all dancing within love’s treasure vault
Within the framework of a broadening thought,
The lights pulsing and the waves reverberating,
Where the good times had become everlasting.

Tribal primal field currents were raging
From speakers of the energy matrix pounding;
They whirled and twirled as loving gestalts
Of sentient consciousness knowing no halt.

There were rhythms of constant contraction
And expansions of bosom-energy projections
Converted to scalar waves of blinking attraction
As fission and fusion beckoned the connections…

…Ever forming in this Omni-sound emporium
Where tone waves vibrated in waves of creation.


A new kind of microscope
That works via gravitational waves
Has revealed the actual interior
Of a quark for the first time.

The charming beauty of the ultimate truth
Is that ladies are in charge of the universe!
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 10:16 pm 


In the netherworld, I learned the lore and
Legends of the colors, of their uses
In nature and emotions, the whatfor
Of their light’s glowing activity:

All color variants, quite numberless,
Are made from the three primaries, no less;
Namely: red, yellow, and blue—often backed
By colorless white tinges or shades of black.

From just these three essential hues derives
All of heaven’s prismatic radiance,
Myriad colors of floral brilliance,
And technicolors that come so alive.

The offspring of married red and yellow
Is the secondary, orange, a bright fellow;
Its sibling, of blue and yellow, is green,
With, of course, some gradation in between.

Saintly brother purple, twixt reds and blues,
Completes the second generation hues.
Next to arrive, lime-green, is a grandchild,
As are all the tertiary colors wild—

They’re crimson, magenta, maroon, scarlet,
Amber, auburn, salmon, ocher, russet,
Mauve, taupe, fuchsia, cherry, cerise, umber,
Teal, emerald, and vermilion others.

Strangely enough, all the color-pairs
That symbolize seasons and festive fairs
As they’re found naturally in nature’s ways,
Do contrast on the color wheel, crossways:

Direct opposites on the color wheel,
Sky-blue and leafy-orange, represent fall,
For they are autumn’s contrasting colors
That quite up for its lack of flowers.

As with crocus, spring’s floral colors yet
Remain yellow primrose, purple violet—
The sensual sun, as it were, warming
The virginal earth, with love, into spring.

The Christmas Holiday Season is “seen”
In its opposing hues of red and green—
As in Holly, berry-red, ever-green,
Or in Poinsettias’ red flush, leaf of green.

We’re out of diametric color sets,
So, which for summer? It must then contain
The entire spectrum, as these the sunset
And the rainbow express, in shine and rain.

Since winter’s snow hides all things out of sight,
Its colors are hidden inside white—and night,
The cold season’s symbols, for they conceal
All of spring and summer’s bright floral feel.

For that as different as day and night,
We have the twin-opposites: black and white,
For the day-clock first became dark and light
When twin-gods split day & night, wrong & right.

Heaven’s splendor, white, for purity, bless,
Holds all the colors of prismatic light,
But the symbol of the Prince of Darkness,
Black, removes all the colors from our sight.

So then, it is proved that, in both nature
And in the color wheel, opposites attract
And complement in their contrast—to procure
Both real and symbolic color contracts.

Next, we’ll turn to the colors lone, to see
The whatfor of their light’s activity,
But first, let’s ask, Are there any missing hues,
Unknown, hidden in rainbows, or not used?

Hidden colors? No, for I see how red goes
To orange, graduating through the rainbow
Into yellow and on through green, to let
Blue into indigo to become violet.

Perhaps, between green and blue, lies some new
Tincture, unique enough to be it’s own hue,
But, alas, those turquoise waves everyday,
In tropic seas, wash that theory away.

Yet, there may be some new colors that lie
Before or beyond the spectrum and the eye,
Like infrared or ultraviolet,
Or gold, which only the fairies can see.

But what of clear, white, silver, gray, or black?
Well, they’re not true colors, for, either they lack
All color (black, clear) or hide all hues (white)
Or are mixtures (gray, silver): black-white.

But wait, there is a well-known color,
One quite common in both dress and nature,
That cannot be found in the rainbow—
Give up? It’s brown—and has nowhere to go!

Brown is the color of death, like the leaves
That crumble dry and lifeless when earth grieves,
Which is why the faeries won’t let it show
In their magically spectral rainbow.

But, alas, brown’s new hue is not to last,
For brown’s no more than red, yellow, and black.
So, onward we move: What do colors mean?
What’s nature’s physiological scheme?

When we see red, we see danger: Stop! Blood!
Metabolism rises, adrenaline floods—
And, so, restaurants use red tablecloths
To increase both the appetite and the cost.

Yellow, the quickest color we can see,
Means caution, as with black on a bee,
But yellow’s bright and cheerful, too, and lends
Light to small and sunless rooms like kitchens.

Healthful orange is the common man’s color;
So, to make the expensive look cheaper,
Such as with a hotel, they paint it orange,
And put some shiny polish on the door hinge.

Blue invigorates, and, therefore, provides
Extra strength and power, so blue’s on our side
When the home team’s locker room is painted
In its hue (visitor’s was pink—they fainted).

Blue, as was said, is good, except on food,
For few foods are blue; so, in diet mood,
Put a blue light in your kitchen—and lose
Weight avoiding repulsive looking food.

Pink (red tinted with white) debilitates,
Sapping strength and temper, so, that is why
It’s used in prison cells and locker rooms,
For it calms the most violent inmates.

What of purple? Well, it’s mournful, but, too,
It’s stately, regal, and virginal, new.
Of green, though it’s seldom worn, none complain;
And use it in their carpets to stay sane.

The stars are not just white, they scintillate:
Sirius is blue, its companion green;
Betelgeuse, red; many, like Sol, yellow;
Arcturus, orange—all jewels constellate.

Well, as colors go, so, then, do we, see:
Hues are just differing wavelengths of light
That the brain interprets, in its own right,
For some natural colored necessity.

May I chance upon a land of strange rainbows
Of elfin-hued flowers: red delphiniums,
Black tulips, orange fuchsias, white marigolds,
Bronze grass, and the legendary blue rose.
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 10:18 pm 


Were we descended from some ape-like creatures?
A thousand people sat down to hear the lectures.

The Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, rose to speak,
And, while speaking, and into his flow, looked at Huxley,
And asked if he’d become attached to apes by way
Of his grandmother’s or his grandfather’s recent sway.

Huxley turned to his neighbor and whispered plans,
“The Lord has delivered him into my hands”,
Then rose with a relish and said something, agape,
Of the nature “I’d rather claim kinship to an ape
Than to someone using his eminence to propound
Such unscientific twaddle in a serious scientific forum!”

This was an insult to the Bishop’s office and his door,
So, the proceedings instantly turned into an uproar.

Someone ran around holding up a Bible, to exclaim
“The Book, the Book!” (Truly, we’ll never be the same.)

Now, who was this guy holding up the Book?
It was none other than the pilot of the Beagle.
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Postby RonPrice on August 17th, 2012, 10:58 pm 

Very pleased to see such a poetic outburst with content of a scientific flavour. "Advance 3 squares and pick a card, DragonFly." -Ron Price, in Australia


Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 11:20 pm 


The music of the spring was in the breeze,
A prelude borne by airy musicians
Of the trees—the mating calls of the birds,
That opened for the cosmic symphony.

The Music of the Spheres played in the park
At night, flung down by our Father, the Sky,
Through the soft night to our Mother, the Earth,
Then to us, their audience and progeny.

The planets joined in a concert to the
Merrie Monthe of Maie, arrayed as follows:
There was Venusia, the Bringer of Peace,
Singing side by side with warring Marsius.

Flitting about was the wingéd Mercuria,
The speedy messenger who conducted
The orchestra, melting all of us who
Were touched by her wand of burning desire.

And mighty Zeus, was there, full to the brim
With the jollity of the fat man’s belly.
By Jove, came Saturnus, so very gray
With age, lumbering into the party.

Thence sat Urania, the magician, and
The old sea captain, King Nep, the mystic,
But not Pluto—he was downsized, no more
One of the harmonics—an underworld!

Jupiter’s music was round and robust,
While Saturn’s boomed with sounds of grandeur
And the old venerable melodies,
But, Mercury soon picked up the pace.

Next flowed the serene love songs of Venus,
Followed inexorably by Martial marches.
Now was the time for Urania’s magic—
She played musical jokes and surprises.

At last, their music came to mesh as one,
And our wanderers of the night floated
Away on the haunting mystical strains
Of King Nep’s tune, into the May Flower moon.

Now we’re touched, so touched by the starlight,
Afraid that we’ll ne’er be the same again.
Can you sense the euphony of the spheres?
Can you fathom the theory of everything?
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 11:21 pm 


The strong family unit, as the three quarks,
Is bonded by the power of its grouping,
But, loses identity if the home breaks—
Other pairs soon forming after divorcing.

Or comes the prison of solitude,
Chained to isolation with fortitude,
Floating, lost, without effects of affects,
Losing the identity conferred by others.

Within the proton, gentleness becomes strength,
For the members are free to explore at length,
Never smothering, but building unity,
The unit’s direction adding to the one.

The strong force grows weaker near the quarks,
And so we may observe them someday,
Shining in their primordial glory—
The beginning of all things composite.

Identity is not lost in the co-joining—
True loves don’t crowd the hearts of the others,
But, rather, look outward, in the same direction,
Close, joined, but don’t block the others’ section.

It is a seeming arithmetic violation,
That in summation we become greater;
We don’t merge, having supported freedom,
Yet still share the same good vibrations.

Love matures when partners let it flow beyond,
Free to wend its way to places dear and fond.
Love’s butterfly prospers when winds blow free;
Unconditional love never binds—it bonds.
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 11:23 pm 


At Princeton University, Robert Dicke and his team
Had really been building up much scientific steam
From pursuing George Gamow’s good suggestion
Of a deep space Cosmic Background Radiation.

Gamow wrote another paper suggesting some ways
To use the Bell antenna, but no one read it in those days.

Unknowing of this paper and unbeknownst to Dicke,
Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, but 30 miles not far,
Were diligently trying to get rid of this very CBR!

At Bell Lab,
Their large communications antenna deployed
Was plagued by some persistent background noise,
A steady steamy hiss, unfocused and unrelenting,
They ever attempting
To squash it away very painstakingly.

For a year they’d tried to eliminate this nuisance noise,
Through testing, rebuilding, and wiggling-dusting ploys,
Even placing duct tape over each & every seam & rivet.

They even wiped away a ton of bird shit from the dish,
Scrub brushing it and sweeping it clean; but, no fish.

Little did they know
They’d found the edge of the visible universe:
The very first photons were at hand—
The most ancient light,
Although time and distance
Had changed it into microwaves.

It was this interfering radiation
They wished to swish away.

If the Empire State Building was the universe we know,
They had reached within an inch of the sidewalk below.

In desperation, they called Princeton about the noise;
“We’ve been scooped!” Dicke sadly told all of his boys.

Penzias and Wilson received the 1978 Nobel Prize,
Even though they’d not been looking, CBR-wise,
And didn’t even know what it was when they found it,

Nor had they ever described it in any scientific paper,
Not even knowing the significance of it,
But from the newspaper.

(Sadly, all that Dicke’s team got
Was a bit of sympathy.)

Note: they didn’t really call it “bird shit”,
But a “white dielectric material”.

See The Birth of the Universe At Home:

You, too, can detect the ancient CBR;
Just tune your TV to a blank channel;
About 1% of the dancing static is the CBR.
When there’s nothing on, it’s really everything!
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 11:24 pm 


The air beneath it
Couldn’t get out of the way of the rock,
Rising in temperature ten times more than the sun is hot.

Everything and everyone crinkled and crackled in the heat;
A thousand cubic kilometers of earth blew from beneath.

This shock wave, radiating at about the speed of light,
Would sweep just about everything else out of sight.

From further away, one would see a blinding light,
Then the unimaginable grandeur of an apocalyptic sight:
A rolling wall of silent darkness as black as midnight.

It would reach to the heavens,
Filling the entire field of view,
Traveling far beyond the speed of sound
Toward me and you.

A bewildering veil of turmoil
Would [ful]fill our vision
During those few last minutes
Before we met oblivion.
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Postby DragonFly on August 17th, 2012, 11:25 pm 


An English mathematician, Robert Norwood, of many,
Wished to know the circumference of the Earth, as any,
With his back against the Tower of London, he forked
Two devoted years marching 208 miles north to York,

Repeatedly stretching and measuring a piece of chain
As he went forth through all the heat, cold and rain,
And made many meticulous adjustments tolled
For the rise and fall of the land and the meandering road.

Then, in York, a year since he began in London,
He measured the precise angle of the sun.
Thus, using trigonometry to size a degree of the mark,
He came up with 110.72 kilometers per degree of arc.

Not thinking that these measurements could be true,
Since the slightest errors could throw them into the blue,
Jean Picard spent two years trundling and triangulating;
Using quadrants and pendulum clocks, he got 110.46.

But, was the Earth fatter at the north and south poles?
Now new measurements were needed to replace the old.

A hydrologist, Pierre Bouguer and and soldier,
Charles Marie de La Condamine, with many bolder,
Traveled to Peru to triangulate through the Andes,
To measure the meridian from Cuenca to Yoarouqui.

They needed but to go 200 hundred miles for one degree,
But everything began to go wrong, often spectacularly.
In Quito, they provoked the locals, getting stoned away;
Their doctor was murdered and the botanist went crazy.

Fevers and falls claimed even more; the senior member,
Pierre Godin, ran off with a pretty thirteen year old girl.
Then they had to halt their work for eight long months,
Having to sort out a problem in Lima with their permits.

La Condamine and Bouguer stopped speaking,
And all the officials had many suspicions, unbelieving
That the French would travel halfway the world around
To measure the world right here in their very own towns.

Why didn’t they make the measurements in France?
Well, Edmund Halley, an exceptional figure, by chance
Got from Newton that our planet was slightly oblate;
But, Jacques Cassini had come up with the reverse fate.

Jacques erred, but the Academy sent the team in mind
To South America, to mountains with good sight lines;
But, the mountains of Peru were often lost in the clouds,
So they’d wait weeks to observe a bit, complaining loud.

The terrain was near impossible, defeating the mules;
The men plodded on, fording wild rivers, hacking jungles
And crossing uncharted stony deserts far from supplies,
Tackling the task for 9 long sun-blistered years of lies.

They then found out that another French team, cold,
Had taken measurements in Scandinavia that showed
That indeed a degree was longer near to the poles,
The Earth Forty-three kilometers wider equatorially
(Than from top to bottom around the poles.)

Still not talking, Bouguer & La Condamine just moaned,
Returning to the coast, even taking separate ships home.
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Postby RonPrice on August 17th, 2012, 11:29 pm 

Someone said that the use of Greek mythology in poetry has long gone passed its used-by date; someone else said that in the war between the rhymers and the non-rhymers in poetry has long been lost to the non-rhymers. I'm not so sure that either is the case.-Ron Price, Australia


Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 7:58 am 

I have some more of these, and then we'll get into some deeper poems. For now, we have seen that some scientists were dogged in their pursuits, exalting in the solving of mystery, with some great successes, as well as some glorious failures.
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Postby RonPrice on August 18th, 2012, 8:15 am 

It appears, DragonFly, that we both have an extended opus,a large oeuvre, of poetry. You can view mine at my website at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/ ....and I can view yours here at this site---and we can both swim until we drown in the avalanche of prose and poetry that now exists in cyberspace for those who want to swim and drown.-Ron


Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 10:18 am 


The famously flightless bird, the good old dodo,
Had a dimwitted but ever trusting natural motto.
During millions of years of isolation from us,
It had evolved on the island of Mauritius.

It was not at all ready for human behavior low,
Even waddling over to note the fall of its fellow.

In 1755, seventy years after the last dodo’ s word,
A museum director at the Ashmolean in Oxford,
Nothing that its dodo specimen had become “tired”,
Being unpleasantly musty, so he threw it into a fire.

We are now not even sure
What a living dodo was like,
But for some oil paintings.
We will not again see their likes.
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Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 10:19 am 


In the late 1700’s, Cuvier could take heaps of bones
And whip them into shapely forms not in the stones.
After describing and naming
The fossil elephant the mastodon,
He put forward for the first time
A theory on extinction.

He said that from time to time
There were global catastrophes
In which some groups of creatures “became history”.
This raised uncomfortable implications at the time,
For why would God create and destroy
Without reason or rhyme?

This suggested an unaccountable
Casualness by someone unseeing
And greatly troubled the belief in
The Great Chain of Being,
Which held that the world was carefully ordered for us—
And that every living thing thus had a place and purpose.

Meanwhile, William Smith noted a correlation in fossils
In rocks to find the relative rock ages that were possible.
At every change in rock strata, certain fossils vanished,
While in others they carried on into subsequent levels.

Now it was seen that God
Had wiped out creatures extinct
Not only occasionally but repeatedly—
Which made us think
Him not only careless
But having an outright hostile distinction.
There had been more than
The Biblical Noachian deluge extinction.
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Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 10:20 am 


For two billion years in the Archaean world, bacteria
Were the only forms of life. Algae, or Cyanobacteria,
Learned to absorb water molecules, dining on hydrogen,
But releasing oxygen as waste; photosynthesis began.

The world began to slowly fill with “poisonous” oxygen,
But not right away, as it first combined with iron then,
Producing iron oxide that sank, that on the bottom lay,
In primitive seas, the world literally rusting away.

After 2 billion years, the atmosphere had some oxygen;
A new kind of cell arose. Some oxygen-using organisms
With organelles produced an energy much more efficient.

This was the endosymbiotic event of a mitochondrion
Which made complex life possible, by a liberation
Of energy from food, feeding on nutrients we take in.

We need them but they don’t need us, for without them
We couldn’t even live for two minutes.
They don’t even speak the same genetic language
As the cells in which they live.

These eukaryotes are old and unknown visitors
Within our homes who’ve stayed on for a billion years.

In another billion years they learned to form together
Into complex multicellular beings, yet, still this world
Of the small was to ever live on and rule the world.

At dinner, Louis Pasteur used a magnifying glass for
Searching for microbes in his food, until invited no more.

There are 100 quadrillion bacteria within us & upon us,
Ever grazing on our flesh and digesting our food bus.
The Earth is not our planet, but theirs; they let us live.
They even purify our water and keep the soil productive.

A single bacterial cell can generate 280,000 more a day.
They can also share information, taking a piece away
Of genetic code from any other any time. They swim
In a single gene pool—an invincible super-organism.

They live in caustic lakes, in Antarctica, in boiling mud,
And even thrive seven miles down in the Pacific Ocean;
In sulfuric acid, too, and in a 166-year-old bottle of beer,
And can even gorge themselves on plutonium nuclear.

Bacteria were yet alive in a sealed camera lens stowed
On the moon for two years, but they seemed a bit slowed.
Some were even found two thousand feet below the Earth
Dining on what’s in rocks, like iron, sulfur, and dirt.

Some frozen ones were even revived from the 3 million
Year-old permafrost of Siberia, and even one older than
The continents, was resuscitated, a 250 million-year-old
Bacterium that had been trapped in a salt deposit hold,
Two thousand feet underground in New Mexico, maybe.
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Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 10:21 am 


At Toba, in northern Sumatra, a supervolcano
Erupted only seventy-four thousands years ago.
Six years of volcanic winter followed this eruption,
Bringing pre-humans to the very edge of extinction.

There were but a few thousand of them left around,
Since very little light could reach the dusty ground.
It took twenty thousand years for them to recompose;
From this handful of hardy souls we humans arose.

In 1960, Bob Christiansen looked around everywhere
At Yellowstone National Park for its volcanic caldera,
But found it nowhere. By some coincidence, NASA
Had photos from a recently tested high altitude camera.

Astounded, Bob learned
Why he’d failed to spot the caldera;
It was virtually the entire park,
2.2 million acres of area!

Yellowstone must have blown up with a violent misery
Far beyond anything known throughout our history.

The crater was forty miles across. The cataclysm was
Even beyond the scale of what the imagination does;
It had thousands of times more monstrous molten fire
Than Mount St. Helens. Krakatau was but a firecracker.

Yellowstone’s eruptions average
One really massive blow every 600,000 years,
The last one being 630,000 years ago;
It is long overdue;
Better take out some no-fault insurance.
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Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 10:23 am 


On his cell phone, Graham texted a telegram,
Which is really what texting is like, damn,
With it’s new codes and abbreviations
(Which is too long of a word for its definition),
On out toward the sexagon on Saturn.

Graham needed more space
From his wife-said place,
So to the ice palace hex,
He went to have good sex.

Back later came a mama-gram from the ma’ms.
Those lovely ladies there said for Graham the man
To come back, bringing quickly some quarks
For their quirks…

Came another tell-a-Graham from those ma’ms,
Saying, Master, we six slaves awaiting
Have just delivered those many sequels
Of that last and happy Saturnalia’s ringing bells.

Graham went off to attend to these family matters
On Saturn concerning his sexagon,
Although he still claims that his sex is a-gone.
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Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 10:26 am 


Uranus is quite pleasant compared to Pluto.

If you’ve ever had a dog, you know what I mean;
However, the under-worlded canine has been
Banished from the house of Astro—
To reign as the under-world in the Underworld,
For it’s much better to reign in Hell
Than to be an unwelcome guest in the heavens.

Once, I was down on Venus,
And the sulfurous emanations
Were so repulsive that any gases from Uranus
Would have been to me as a breath of fresh air.

The gas giant planets’ breadth and width is staggering,
And their mooning around is getting out of hand.

That leaves Mars as the only other good place—
Since Klingons have now appeared
On the rings around Uranus.
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Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 10:27 am 


De Broglie declared that all motion
Of particles must be associated
With the propagation of a wave.
Einstein then wrote that De Broglie
“Had lifted the corner of the great veil.”

Einstein later had an opportunity
To lift another veil—that of Marie Curie,
When they vacationed together,
Quite reactively, in the Swiss alps.

Did they or didn’t they exchange energy?

Einstein was a ladies’ man, though married,
Busy having an affair with his cousin, Elsa,
And Marie was a married man’s lady (Paul’s).

Einstein wrote his wife that Marie was a grouch,
But, was this just a misdirection meant to allay?
They inhaled the alpine air, talking science,
Strolling far and trying to name the peaks.
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Postby RonPrice on August 18th, 2012, 7:30 pm 

Your capacity to write rhyming verse is extraordinary, DragonFly. I'm sure if you wanted to market it among the many places in cyberspace that are involved in such literary exercises, you'd get a few hard/soft cover books out there in real space. Thanks again for your work.-Ron


Postby DragonFly on August 18th, 2012, 8:42 pm 

More tomorrow, and maybe also an 'art with words' thread (they're kind of like posters, but better), since you inspired me to have an idea to join words and art so as to involve both sides of the brain, so I made some up today, although I've dabbled in it before, but now I know more.

I'm putting out books for the ipad. Some are simple, and those can go through SmashWords, which has a 5M limit, but gives a free ISBN, and the more complicated ones go through ibooks Author, and can be up to 2G (since I have video in them), but they don't give free ISBNs, but I know how to get them for only $5.

(Yes, it took a while to get used to all the possible rhyme words, which still have to make sense, too. I have better and more complete rhyming in the non-direct-type-science stuff that I will put, although some borders on science as philosophy.)

I also wrote my own Rubaiyat, and that was even tougher, since I continued FitzGerald's model by using 10 syllable lines, as in his the English translation. Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat in Persian used 13 syllables, as that must be what that language needed.

I also like Shelley and have extended some of his stuff. Shelley often dealt with science/philosophy in a romantic kind of way.
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Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2012, 6:13 am 


Ever back through the Ages went I,
Dating rocks and old fossils, by and by,
And found this tablet stone, the Covenant
Of the one and only engraven Commandment:


The Commandments of Evolution are unmistakably
Engraved in stone for everyone to see.
There are no “if’s”, “and’s”, or “but’s” in these pages,
For we can even date these rocks of ages.
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Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2012, 6:14 am 


“There’s the aether”, replied the other, apace,
“The 5th state, one that pervades all of space,
Yet there are no signposts of it up ahead,
Or anywhere, since it’s in every stead.

“We regard it as the stuff of which Gods are made,
That lively spirit of elixir that their nature bade,
For, just as all mortal creatures inhale the air,
So do immortal and divine natures inhale the aether.”

“The intimation is the mark of their manifestation,
A demonstration and a token of the evidencention—
The aetheric and heavenly sign of things to come,
Both the portent of the miracle and its omen.

“It is of the warning and the notice let,
Presaging both the promise and the threat.
Of this sign the aether follows, the gesture beckons;
‘Tis the signal, the wave and gesticulation reckoned.

“We can read the writing in the sky, the marquee,
Daubed with symbols marking the cipher free,
With characters, figures, and hieroglyphs of time,
The ideogram of the rune, the emblem of the Divine.”
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Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2012, 6:15 am 


“There is the ‘vacuum’”, replied the other,
“A base state, one pervading all of space,
There being no signposts within it,
Or anywhere, since it is of no direction.

“We must regard it the stuff of which things are made;
For just as all living creatures inhale the air,
So do all the real natures inhale the vacuum.”

“This intimation is the mark of manifestation,
A demonstration that’s the token of the evidence;
The aetheric and heavenly sign of things to become,
Both the portent and the omen of so much possibility.

“It is both the warning and the present notice,
Presaging both the promise and the threat.
Aft this sign, that the vacuum ‘indirects’,
Then the real gestures ever beckon;
They of an the unsignal faint,
The wave and gesticulation of you.

“We read the noise of the quantum theater—no marquee;
All is daubed without symbols, to mark no cipher, bare,
No letters, characters, figures, or hieroglyphs there,
No ideogram of the rune of order,
No emblem of the Divine.”
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Postby DragonFly on August 19th, 2012, 6:18 am 


Above me, fires burn the stars away;
Below me, the Earth turns under my feet;
Within me, unworded dreams haunt my soul;
Around me, night pours blackness on the ground.

Yet, inspiration returns with the stars—
A thousand ideas beckon from afar;
Ideas wink like fireflies on the mind’s meadow—
As starlight, they stab the darkness of naught.

The stars’ light is the origin of our being,
The source of our matter, energy—everything;
Permanent, reassuring, and unquenchable,
It’s our radiant soul, our self-winding mainspring.

Soul to soul, it said to me, I’m the light,
Thy spirit’s sight, a beauty bold and bright,
An inspiration come from darkest night;
I’m a newborn star aglow with insight.

Oh thee, of thine, whence came this life of mine?
I wish thee to thank for this living wine.
Oh Nature, Father Time, Guiding Star—
Thanks for throwing me an earthly lifeline.

Look at the stars in the depths of the night;
Hold the flames in your mind, keeping them bright.
Their power flows, energizing you from
The Eternal Charger—you see the light!

Stars generate the lower elements;
Supernovae generate the higher ones.
Atoms form the molecules that lead to
Life’s complexity—from simplicity.

The stars are eternity’s running-lights—
They shine, even through the fathomless night!
From what bright star came the gleam in your eyes?
To what distant sun returns your smile’s light?

Born of stardust and nourished by sunlight,
I fill my cup with wonders of delight.
Life is a treasure, a radiant gem,
A vision that I’ll never see again.

From Heaven’s stars came our dust eterne;
Time’s seas nurtured thee and thine in turn.
From time, death, and dust we thus became,
And by this, thus, and that we must return.

Purgatory’s on Venus, where sulfurs rain.
Hell’s found in the sun’s heart, oh, hot burning pain!
Of Heaven’s site, no one has any idea—
It’s the world’s best kept secret: Earth’s its name!

Earth’s a garden, an oasis in space,
A world of boundless beauty and grace.
One could search the heavens for such in vain,
Finding no equal, anytime or anyplace.

Elves find Venus shining in broad daylight,
Knowing where to look as if it were night,
Then follow her as the evening star,
Till with her fiery lover she takes flight.

Just before dawn, amid the dew and moss,
Elves ride on a moonbeam made of Bugloss,
And see the North Star and the Southern Cross
In the same sky, ‘most all the way across.

The sun fills the waking and breathing world
With the fire of her imagination.
In poetry, the sun is the power behind the mind;
The moon, planets, and stars are symbols, too.

Sometimes intellectual beauty is bright
And ideas gush from the eternal flame;
Sometimes it fails when the shadows of clouds
Dim the clarity of thought now and then.

Quenchless, boundless, ever bright and burning,
The mind’s light searches every dark cavern,
Probing, imagining—its beam alighting
Upon the earth or high atop cloud mist,

And melts, with heat, energy, and desire,
The fog of lone reason and pure passion,
Burning it away, soft dissolving it
With the love of life, earth, mankind, and star—

From which comes adventure, friendship, delight,
Joy, success, triumph, and lasting gladness
Throughout the sun’s journey into the night,
When stars shine on mind—suns they also are!

The moon fills the sleeping and breathing world
With the icy coolness of chaste reason
Unaffected by deep burning passions,
Although sunlit to glow in its wan light.

Reason, unsteady as the variant moon,
Oft does not rise in the night to guide us,
And deserts us in darkest times of woe;
We are alone on a black cloud-bound night!

Else the moon hides in the bright light of day,
Or is lost behind an overcast sky;
But, moonless nights take us beyond reason
When the stars excite us with their lights.

Yes, inspiration returns with the stars—
A thousand ideas beckon from afar;
Ideas wink like fireflies on the mind’s meadow—
As starlight they stab the darkness of nought,

Until star-like Venus rises near dawn.
Goddess of romantic love and passion,
She captures us within emotion’s swell,
While comets flash and confuse the wild sky.

Soon intellectual beauty returns,
Borne on birds’ wings as song into the dawn,
For, all human music is but a part
Of earth’s ancient melody and rhythm.

Imagination now soars past a day,
And into the season of spring’s fast growth;
The shade is deep and cool, like the ghost of
Winter passing—gone but still remembered.

Earth’s a garden, an oasis in space,
A world of boundless beauty and grace—
One could search the heavens for such in vain,
Finding no equal, anytime or anyplace.

Why is the Earth for human life so perfect?
And billions of other planets so unfit?
Well, if this world wasn’t right for life, then
We wouldn’t be here to ask about it!

We are life’s eternal creative smile,
Beaming as the universal epistyle.
In us the cosmos has come alive;
Thus we borrow life from Death for awhile.

The void pulsates in a structured sequence.
A field is present throughout space immense,
Out of which all particles must condense—
Occurring where the field’s extremely intense.

Atoms are just bundles of inertia,
Knots in the field and fabric of space;
Yet matter defines the structure of space…
The Yin is in the Yang, and vice-versa!

At Heaven’s birth, positive energy
Became matter—countered by gravity,
Whose attractive embrace was negative;
So, still, their sum adds up to nullity.

Plus and minus from “nothing” came to be,
But while most charges rejoined, some went free,
The pluses forming matter, energy,
And the minuses forming gravity.

Thus from “nothing” was written our account,
And to nothing we’ll still have to amount;
But, in between those two parentheses
The pluses rain on us from Heaven’s fount.

The stars’ light is the origin of our being,
The source of our matter, energy—everything;
Permanent, reassuring, and unquenchable,
It’s our radiant soul, our self-winding mainspring.

Life’s a continual cosmic energy dance,
From some ultimate underlying happenstance.
We’re immersed in matter’s universal rhythm;
Therefore, we must all participate in the dance.
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