Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A News Sonnet A Day for April 2010: 13

I've set myself a goal for National Poetry Month this year: Compose a sonnet based on a science-themed news story each day.

Today's installment takes its cue from "Magnetic poles may once have been at equator" by Jeff Hecht, New Scientist.


My compass points me north, at least today.
Beneath Earth's mantle, molten iron flows,
And might, perhaps, have pooled and caused to sway
Our two magnetic poles. These wobbly woes

Show up around five-fifty million years,
Back to six hundred million in the past,
Too quick for plate tectonics shifting gears,
And polar wandering is not that fast.

Yet magnetized volcanic rocks appear
Suggesting the equator held that force.
But what made our magnetic field career
From pole to midriff, once more shifting course --

And could it linger long enough to clock?
Can planets lose their way around the block?

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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