Well, I am sorry to say that this is not a terribly good poem, but I claim jet-lag as an excuse. However the event that I describe was quite striking. As my plane took off out of Chicago, we went right up over the lake. On this particular day, at that particular time, the foggy day and the grey lake were the exact same color, and there was no visible line between them. So as we went rushing toward the shore of the lake, one thought involuntarily ran through my head: ‘So, this is the edge of the world.’
Firmly ensconced in the airplanes belly,
Of modern man’s invention a marvel,
A creature of steel serving our whimsy,
Laughing at distances that made kings tremble.
The airplane is humble, despite its power
And with little regard for weather or rain
The machine flies above every tower
Far into the sky it extends man’s reign.
Though awe inspired at flight’s beginning
While the foggy heavens us received
Out of the window my eyes were peering
And an ancient mystery perceived.
The edge of the world rushed up to greet us
And briefly within me, Wonder arose.
So, my competitor Thalia and I gave ourselves a one day extension, since she was visiting me all weekend. However, since I am done, here is my sonnet. Hers should be up by tomorrow sometime, and I will link to it when it arrives. Here it is: Evil Spirits.
A brief introduction here with a picture of the Collegiate Peaks in Colorado. I worked for a while on a dude ranch in CO, and I was a van driver, and one day a week I got to drive people down to this area for white water rafting. But that’s the end of the correlation between the mountains in this picture and the Mountain in the poem.
And now the poem.
The mountain stretches its neck to the sky
Colossal and proud without pretention,
Pyramids stand in low imitation
Of its grandeur and might raised up on high,
Higher than even the eagles can fly.
Standing apart it calls my attention,
Singing the song of my heart’s affection,
Calling my spirit. And yet I do cry.
Not yet, not yet, from this world may I turn.
Rebellion and sorrows are piled ‘round
Of billions of people like tinder found,
Who, lacking water, are destined to burn.
My gaze I avert from the mountain’s height,
And, bringing Water, return to the fight.
So, with great sadness, I am using my back-up sonnet in the sonnet duel. Being sick for some time left me no time to write sonnets (or do much more than sleep). So here is a sonnet I wrote for the Thompson family annual Chesterton poetry party. The background is that everything I make and use in my research is white…. while everyone else in Inorganic Chemistry is doing stuff with green, red and many colored compounds… Recently though this has changed, and I have started working with a molybdenum and vanadium based catalyst which is orange, and changes to red-brown and then to green upon adding the reaction is catalyzes…. So somewhat sated in my desire for pretty colors at work, I nevertheless post here ‘The Disappointed Alchemist’. I hope you enjoy it. I will link to my competition when it appears. Porcine Transgression
I becams’t an inorganic chemist
Haphazardly, by promises seduc’d
(Spoken softly, by Sybil who liest)
Of brilliant colours to essence reduc’d.
I had thought to create sanguine, azure
Sable, verdant compounds, myster’ous, whole,
As hoary Alchemist of old, hunch’d o’er
Sought full transmutation of leaden soul,
I had thought to find mystery and subtlety.
Recalcitrance, instead, and thoughtless perfidy
In great supply I find. Now, my soul sees.
Lo! Mankind hath lost all but rational
Deceit, which, as Circe kept Ulysses
Does captivate and mesmerize the soul.