Sunday, January 23, 2011

Science Poems for January 2011: 23

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 "An Amoeba Is More Fiscally Responsible than Most Americans" (Sharon Neufeldt, I Can Has Science?, Jan. 21, 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.

Spore Richard's Almanack
(Form: Kyrielle variant)

Bacteria saved are bacteria earned.
Thus is Ben Franklin's wisdom turned
By social amoebas banding together,
The better their shifting fortunes to weather.

Dictyostelium (Dicty for short)
Evolved its own method of fiscal support.
Single-celled beasts to each other tether,
Forming a slug for the journey they'll weather.

Some save bacteria serving as food
For planting in distant lands fertile and good.
Amoebas then fruit, shoot spores yon and hither,
The better for offspring to deal with the weather.

Others chow down, giving in to the urge,
Spending bacteria in a great splurge,
Gathering strength so their efforts won't wither
During their travels in troublesome weather.

Responsible Dicty might ill afford
The hunger they face whenever they hoard.
Spendthrift Dicty can die dried as leather,
Starved in sterility they cannot weather.

Offspring amoebas gear their behavior
After their parents (spender or saver),
Passing on habits for worse or for better,
Surplus or deficit shifty as weather.

Who is the wiser? Conditions will drive
Which type will starve and which will survive.
Economists tabulate all in a dither.
Both strategies work in uncertainty's weather.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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