Monday, January 03, 2011

Science Poems for January 2011: 3

Last April I posted a science sonnet a day in celebration of National Poetry Month (index with links here). This January 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" occurs Jan. 13-16, 2011. Click on the logo below to access their daily digest (already active) on

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.

Today's poem takes its cue from "Perihelion 2011" (Steve Owens, Dark Sky Diary, Jan. 1, 2011) in celebration of today's event. Click on the article link to learn more about the phenomenon. To learn more about the traditional poetic structure used, click on the form name below the title.

(Form: Interlocking Rubáiyát)

Our orbit whirls us like a lasso's knot
Around our rope of year, and to the spot
Where Earth can hang no closer to the Sun
Before it swings around, along a plot

Our ancient worlds had long ago begun.
The north still tilts away, enough to stun
With bitter cold. The nights stay long and dark.
The touch of added light and heat: near none.

No perfect circle traces our arc
But an ellipse, for in July we'll park
Three million miles more distant from our star,
And summer broil will make that seem a lark.

For now, we know exactly where we are
Within the confines of our calendar:
As near to Helios as we'll have got,
Yet craving rays of comfort from afar.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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