Saturday, January 22, 2011

Science Poems for January 2011: 22

Last April I posted a science sonnet a day in celebration of National Poetry Month (index with links here). This month I am posting a science poem a day, written in various traditional forms, in honor of Science Online 2011.

The "fifth annual international meeting on Science and the Web" ran from Jan. 13-16. Click on the logo below to access the conference page, which has links to posts, tweets, photos, and videos from the event.

As with the sonnets, my January poems take their cues from science-based articles. I also have two works in a special science poem section (vol. 33 #5/6) of Star*Line, journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can read my "Ciliate Sestina" here.

Also, two sonnets from last April's collection, "In Development" and "Manipulations," have made it into Open Laboratory 2010 Click on the badge below for links to the 50 essays, 6 poems, and 1 cartoon in the collection.

(Click here to see Andrea Kuszewski's gorgeous cover!)

Today's poem takes its cue from "The Neuroscience of Tone Deafness" (Kevin Mitchell, Scientific American, Jan. 18, 2011). Click on the article link to learn more about the research. To learn more about the traditional poetic structure used, click on the form name.

This Poem Will Amusia
(Form: Cowleyan Ode)

The piano plays a simple melody,
A lovely song.
I sing it wrong,
But I don't know unless you're telling me,
"That's not the note!"
I can't be sure.
I thought my tone was pure.
I try to learn the song by rote
But honestly, I can't recall
If I have sung that thing at all.

The piano plays again; I hear a clinker.
Some structure in my brain perceives the stinker
Because it trips the EEG to carp,
"For heaven's sake, that should have been C-sharp!"
Most anyone would note the flub,
But I'm not in the club
That grasps the error as one might expect.
I cannot fathom worth a whit
What key that piano player hit.
My brain has got some kind of disconnect.

The music information
Makes its way into my head,
And the song is in my memory somewhere.
But my mind is on vacation
And the notes are stuck instead
In a place from which I cannot give them air.
Unconsciously, I know the tune,
But consciously I cannot croon
Because that information cannot flow
From auditory centers up to frontal.
My voice retains the power to disgruntle
When I regale my audience fortissimo.

I don't forget a single face.
Each music lover's grimace makes me cringe.
But people with no memory
For faces watch my listeners while they whinge.
They simply can't remember whom they see.
For them, the mirror is a scary place
In which a stranger lurks behind the glass
To startle them each morning
With no advance warning:
Reflections with a mission to harass.
For they, too, lack the bundle
Of nerves enough to trundle
The data that they need to recognize
The person who's behind a pair of eyes.
But their skin response will show
That in truth they really know
Who's behind each new disguise.

Harrowing harmonies sung through the hour,
Tone-deaf amusia will make my notes sour,
Pro-so-pag-no-sia makes faces forgettable.
How odd that the brain with its neuronal power
Can get so unhinged by conditions congenital.
Signals transmitted are never received.
Strangers are loved ones? Who would have believed?
Why can't I remember what I have perceived?
How could my aria make your ears bleed?

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
Promote Your Page Too

Vol. 1, Deviations: Covenant (2nd Ed.), Vol. 2, Deviations: Appetite, Vol. 3, Deviations: Destiny, Vol. 4, Deviations: Bloodlines, Vol. 5, Deviations: TelZodo
Free downloads at the Deviations website, Smashwords, and Manybooks.

Proud participant, Operation E-Book Drop (provides free e-books to personnel serving overseas. Logo from the imagination and graphic artistry of K.A. M'Lady & P.M. Dittman); Books For Soldiers (ships books and more to deployed military members of the U.. armed forces); and Shadow Forest Authors (a fellowship of authors and supporters for charity, with a focus on literacy).
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.


Post a Comment

<< Home