Fire Season #poem #poetry #firefighter

Firefighter by Charles White

Sawmill, Arizona,
Was a target practice start.
At West Mims Fire in Georgia,
There lightning played a part.

All before the summer
Begins Memorial Day,
Before the weekend warriors
Come to the woods to play.

When living in a city
You look for weekend gigs.
Or if you’re in suburbia,
Fast food jobs are big.

But in the rural places,
In forests dry or desert low,
It’s during fire season
That you make extra dough.

By Kate Rauner

My spouse was barely home long enough to clean and repair his gear – now gone to the Baca Prescribed Burn – hoping to remove accumulated fuel so wildfires don’t turn deadly. You bloom where you’re planted! In you live on a shore, you fish and swim and maybe get a boat. In a city, I suppose there are clubs and entertainments. But in rural America you hunt, go 4-wheeling – and learn wildland firefighting.

Controversial Bubbles Challenge Origins of Life #poem #poetry #evolution #originoflife

Bubbling Yellowstone mud pot

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble,
Over three billion years ago,
Volcanic heat met water
And something started to grow.

Perhaps deep in the ocean
Or perhaps in springs on land,
Bubbles found in rocks today
Are clues to understand.

by Kate Rauner

Searching for traces of Earth’s earliest life is hard and there are plenty of skeptics, because the signs aren’t bones or shells, but “blobs and knobs and something that they interpret as filaments.” People keep trying because “it would be incredibly exciting to find some sign of something that was living 3.8 billion years ago.”

For more on what that “spongy kind of gloopy soup” may have been, see NPR tiny fossils and

NPR Australian fossils

My apologies for mangling The Bard, but I needed the bubbles. Here’s Macbeth:

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Faith Meets Death From Forgotten Past to Today #poem #poetry #anthropology #death

Grave Goods

Museum replica of Viking burial inside a ship as coffin

Found in their graves
From ancient times old,
All they possessed
In silver and gold.

Their weapons and tools
And their finest clothes
Would somehow transcend
To follow their souls.

This marks us as human –
Where our bodies lie
The pollen of flowers
Bloomed over goodbyes.

What will you take
With you when you die?
To a hole in the earth
That leads to the sky?

By Kate Rauner

All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. The second edition of Rhyme and Reason is available now – newly expanded with more poems from physics, biology, learning, and more. Now on Amazon and all your favorite on-line stores.

¬†There are so many archeological studies of burials it’s hard to pick one, but a recent article inspired this poem. Read about a Neanderthal flower burial – maybe – at wikipedia.org

Focus on a Sign of Spring #Haiku #poem #poetry #insect #spring

First roly poly
Creeps from the thawing compost
A true sign of spring

by Kate Rauner

 

 

 

Pill bugs, roly polies or doodle bugs – much nicer names than woodlouse

Bug images licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Mystery of Dark Matter May Be Explained by Showing It’s Not There #poem #poetry #Physics #gravity

cosmos_3d_dark_matter_map

There is evidence for dark matter. Weak gravitational lensing data from the Hubble Space Telescope imply this distribution of dark matter.

You and I are special
Along with all we view,
Just one in five of all that is
From this stellar clue.

The galaxy of the Milky Way,
Rotating fast, should scatter.
Based on the mass of stars we see
There must be hidden matter.

For decades we’ve accepted
This mystery profound.
It’s central to the notions
That cosmologists expound.

But data’s always coming in
As telescopes get better,
Till movements of the stars
Are described by normal matter.

Perhaps it’s relativity
That we don’t comprehend.
The shape of space and gravity
Were never quantum’s friend.

So what’s the answer when
Disagreement is so keen?
Why, get more data till we know.
God’s subtle but not mean.

by Kate Rauner

Christian Moni-Bidin, an astronomer at the University of Concepci√≥n in Chile, and his coauthors have a forthcoming paper in the Astrophysical Journal. Based on the hundreds of stars, all within 13,000 light-years of Earth, visible material explains their motion. Unseen dark matter isn’t needed, at least not this close to Earth.

The next step is to replicate the calculations for millions of stars. If dark matter really doesn’t exists, then gravity is messier than either Newton or Einstein realized.

Thanks to Albert Einstein for the quote in that last line, and to livescience.com for their article.

Fascinating Clues to Concealed Life in the Asteroid Belt #poem #poetry #science #space

Ceres in natural color, as imaged by the spacecraft Dawn

Ceres in natural color, as imaged by the spacecraft Dawn

Between Mars and Jupiter,
Scattered asteroids
Orbit in a frozen belt
Of atmosphere devoid.

We found organic molecules,
The building blocks of life,
A tar-like concentration
Within a crater rife.

It’s Ceres, a dwarf planet,
With brightened crater bowls,
Where water ice is common
Beneath its axis poles.

This rock retains internal heat
From the dawn of time
To power unseen chemistry
Beneath its blackened grime.

Wherever’s liquid water
And heat for energy,
Where chemistry is active
To battle entropy,
There could be life abundant
In briny buried seas,
Beneath thick crusts of ice
On Callisto
or Ganymede.

Or Titan, or Europa.
Perhaps Enceladus.
High in Venusian air,
Or under Martian dust.

Ceres now has joined the list
Of where we must explore
To seek our solar system kin
Upon outlandish shores.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to space.com and NASA’s spacecraft Dawn.

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Limusaurus Mud Lizard Needs Dentures #poem #poetry #dinosaur #nature #fossil

limusaurus_size

I’d peck your kneecaps off – if I wasn’t dead for 160 million years

As dinosaurs evolved to birds
Their teeth reduced and disappeared,
Though some kept jaw bones jagged sharp –
A modern goose is to be feared!

Teeth seem to be so useful
To hunting and to dine
That penguins have a toothed tongue,
Some modern chicks boast oral spines.

One hundred million years ago
Limusaurs did not concur.
They dropped their teeth in adult days,
A smooth beak they preferred.

Wholly unexpected
And never seen before,
Fossils show that babies grew
And lost their teeth that tore.

More strange discoveries await
As fossils come to hand
To show us that surprising beasts
Once stalked across the land.

by Kate Rauner

Thanks to sciencemag.org for this news.

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.