The first of these Armchair Observations came on the 5th Dec 2010 with one of the most astounding NASA photos of the day. How can the moon shine through a mountain? It turned out to be to do with and anticrepuscular (ah a new word :) ) shadow. The sunset had projected a shadow of the mountain onto the twilight sky and the moon was rising through that shadow. It is a stunning aspect and immediately brought to my mind the masonry image of the all seeing eye, the pyramids, and how I as the observor seemed almost to play the role of the Sun. When you see something as spectacular as that it is bound to be insipring. The colours and the eerie sight washed over me and so my first reaction was 'O' and with that exclamation came a week of inspriation and to be honest determination to write a poem a day to suit whatever NASA threw at me.
Could I pull it off? Well the 6th December proved no less interesting. The circled shapes of the universe became thematic and this time we had alien life as well - arsenic loving bacteria, DNA that was totally different from ours, living in this volcanic soup bowl like little white beans in blue minestrone. And there I was again looking down from a height, transported from my office chair to another place with other life and yet so far I hadn't left the planet Earth. And I thought WOW this is amazing, what if the human race failed to survive? Would these bacteria begin an evolution of their own? And I began to write.
When it came to the 7th I was well and truly hooked and I could think of nothing more minimalist for a Black Hole than haiku - the perfect combination. So vast/so small and so ver COMPACT :)
And the next day the Rover Opportunity explores the Intrepid Crater on Mars. It could be the opportunity for a poem about sand without picnics, I thought... Mars is so far. I've written about a bottle of water on Mars in "Clear Sailing" also on BwS. It seems so distant and rusty compared to our silvery moon. I wonder will we ever walk there too?
11.8 million light-years away in the northern constellation Ursa Major lay the inspiration for the next poem. Ursa Major is of course the Great Bear and so Arp's loop in my mind became a swirling soup and so another poem was born and I think it turned out 'just right' ;)
On the 10th December it was the colours mostly that inspired the poem and the net of tree twigs over the moon. I thought of lace and veils and weddings then and from the NASA decription came the line,
"The thin rim of a day-old moon occulting Mars"
occulting - such a wonderfully adjectival verb!
The poem for the 11th Dec was about a spear of green light that streaked across the sky during the annual Leonid's shower. It was like one of those Spcae Oddessy moments. You think how could early man have failed to be inspired by such sights as this? How can we fail to be inspired every time we look up and realise we are travelling through the universe on this small shpere we call home? That sudden flash of light inspired me.
that impertinent pointer
streaks the sky
look up, look up,
look at me
Lift your mind out of the dust of Earth
lift your mind out of the dust of
man and see
Oh see what dust can do
what dust can be.
When I saw the Torre de la Guaita with the leonid trails whizzing round it just reminded me of my 'coolest' ever pressy - and LED lights fan that whizzes coloured ever changing patterns round when switched on and so I wrote this last one http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue428/observatory7.html
I have to admit I was surprised and delighted that this series turned out as well as it did from a spur of the moment exercise and it just goes to show that it pays to write - just write... and see what transpires