FLOWERS In The MACHINE - POETRY Kit

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FLOWERSin theMACHINEPoetry Inspired by ScienceEdited by Annest GwilymA Poetry Kit Project

FLOWERS in the MACHINEPoetry Inspired by ScienceISBN 978-1-873761-72-4Title and collection copyright Jim Bennett 2017.Edited and designed by Annest Gwilym.All rights reserved.The moral rights of the authors have been asserted.Neither the whole, nor any part of the work contained in thispublication may be adapted or reproduced in any materialform except with the prior written consent of the publisher.Poems published in this collection are the copyright of each individual author andmust not be reproduced in any format without the prior permission of the author.British Library cataloguing in publication data.A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library.The image on page 22: How to make a love potion by evil6/ is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0.The images on pages 6, 20 and 32 are copyright Lesley Burt.The image on page 3 is econstruction-of-the-skull-of-taung-child/.The image on page 12 is copyright Stuart Nunn.Images on the cover and pages 1, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 18, 21, 24, 25, 27, 28 and 30 are fromwww.pixabay.com, released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0.

ContentsAtmospheric by Barbara Phillips1from here to Saturn by James Bell2Fossil Record by Stuart Nunn3Splitting Matter by Waiata Dawn Davies4Balloon Observations of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysicsby Barbara Phillips5Mr & Mrs Andrews observe magnetic fields by Lesley Burt6The last woolly mammoth by Annest Gwilym7write something about science by Philip Johnson8falling up through moon face defying physics by Barbara Phillips9extracts from a Martian journal by James Bell10travelling too close to a pulsar by Eric Nicholson11Chlorine by Stuart Nunn12Frozen Heat – Physics and Motion by Barbara Phillips13Missing, feared extinct by Jan Harris14an element chases a narrative by James Bell15Gamma Game Gone by Barbara Phillips16On the morning of 14 September there was a slight wiggle in the arms of the twin LaserInterferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory Detectors by Eric Nicholson17the crown of thorns by Philip Johnson18Interlude in Key of Egg by Barbara Phillips19Pole Star and Pyramid by Lesley Burt20

The Forensic Psychologist by Tina Edwards21SCIENCE 18/03/2009 subject X5 in natural habitat by Raoul Izzard22LIGO by Barbara Phillips23H₂O and beyond by James Bell24The first mammophant by Annest Gwilym25The universe expands by Barbara Phillips26science is golden, delicious by Philip Johnson27Saving Humanity or Genetic Manipulation by Daphne Milne28Carbon by Stuart Nunn29Refraction by Barbara Phillips30the Boaty McBoatface scientific method by James Bell31The relativity of the sun in flight by Lesley Burt32Contributors’ Biographies and Notes33

BARBARA PHILLIPSAtmosphericmy mind today is atmosphericcaught in meteorological meanderingsthreads of thoughts play tag with cloudsby osmosis they driftthrough whatever bounds they mustI don't know where they gowhat password they usehow they process those risingfrom all the other commutersthere is a convention afoot up thereswelling in billows of promisesgathering in pristine brightness leaninginto sunset steeping the ballroom of the skyin those throngs there must be dreamswondering how they all fit inas they lobby for integrationdance to tunes of cerebral revolutions1

JAMES BELLfrom here to Saturn(Cassini de Thury 1714–1784)before memory and the light failsthere is vellum to be filledwith undulations of hill roads and river flowwritten names marked as heardby phonetics – that other toolafter descending the triangulation towerswhere rank then governs what is inked in –abuse can come from opposite directionsas either a taker of soulsor some royalist spy or republican –the philosophy diverges between necromancyand science in a play for understandingwhat direction to take – where most will never gobut this is just the unfulfilled wishyou create as a cartographerin a quest for objectivityfrom here to Saturn and beyondthe most distant field gateas astronomer he would not be surprisedto meet aliens out on a navigational limbamong the rims of rings around a planetenjoy the idea of precisionbeing enacted without human handsbillions of kilometres awaythose hieroglyphics drawn on paperwere not the places people recognisedso must be sorcery – some trickthey cannot work out whenthe whole universe only includes the next villageand not any of the dangers over the horizon2

STUART NUNNFossil Recordhuman activitywill leave a long-term signaturein the strata recordAt the age of three and a halfthe Taung Child was eaten by an eagle.we have bored 50m kilometres of holesin our search for oilwe remove mountain topsto get at the coal they containThe evidence is that damage marksto the eye sockets of the fossilare identical to marks made by modern eagleson modern monkeys as they rip out their eyes.the oceans dancewith billions of tiny plastic beadsPoor little Taung Child,shrieking on the windas you were borne aloftby the aquiline fury.we have become titanic geological agentsour legacy legiblefor millennia to comeYou would have found no comfortin your destined fame,two and a half million years on,as the type specimenof Australopithecus africanus.millions of different teleconnected agentsfrom methane molecules to mosquitoesPoor Taung mother,weeping in the Pliocene.what a signature it will be3

WAIATA DAWN DAVIESSplitting MatterThat farmer's boy from Takakarose each day before sunrisesplit kindling for his mother's firenoted early sunlightthrowing ephemeral shadowsonto the frosted grass.Later he went to Cambridgeworked out how to split atoms.Einstein wrote the equation.Nobody took much notice.Until the military droppedthat bomb on Hiroshimawhere people walking to workwere obliterated in nanosecondsby a light so intense that onlytheir shadows etched onstonework remind us.4

BARBARA PHILLIPSBalloonObservationsthe boomerang echosends waves of agitationofthrough primordial plasmaMillimetricin a universe that keepsExtragalacticpuzzles in child-proof bottlesRadiationandGeophysicscosmology of the universe isflat, modern revelationdéjà vu, keeps pacewith past historyresists gravitational pullstowards millennial headlong fallsinto tunnels with no exitthe question is cactus-fine thornin theories that collidebecome big bangsexpel rushes of supernovassoon spent in afterburnsminds whip into orbits consumethemselves in comets of speculationdrag race through infinite space5

LESLEY BURTMr & Mrs Andrews observe magnetic fieldsStarched white cloth pinned out on turf; Mrs A.tips iron filings: Let us look at these dark heaps.Mr A. orders his dog to heel beside trees,bar magnets, artist’s easel, yellow sheaves.She filters the splinters through pale fingers:At once silky and jagged, she suggests.Qualities not dissimilar from gownsof fashion seen in London, he agrees.Breeze ruffles trees, hastens clouds, carriesbursts of bleating from adjacent pastures.She bends over to inspect: Symmetricalpatterns formed by iron bars. Phenomenal.Mr A. stoops to pinch his wife’s buttock;a pheasant startles into flight – he cockshis gun and winks. Gainsborough bellows:Sir, Madam, please adopt a suitable pose.6

ANNEST GWILYMThe last woolly mammothThe mother sinks into permafrost,trumpets a final cry only he hears,her hair thin and sheer,ridges of her bones exposed.He keeps vigil; forages, shovels snowfor sweet grasses, sedges, mosses.People have taken bones and tusksof his dead tribe, wear his family’s coatson their backs. Killed sick animalswith long sticks, eaten their flesh.Made arched dwellingsfrom mammoth ribs and skin.Out in the bay the only other giants,bowhead whales and belugas,crest the sea like glossy grey boulders.Alone on Wrangel Island polar nightcloses around himlike a shroud.7

PHILIP JOHNSONwrite something about scienceI fell inthe dark webon a promiseclickthe offer to meet a Russian womanfrom my front roomwhere I left my shoesstill astride my laptopme in Red Squareshe the resemblance of Trumphairpiece and second-hand teethgrinninghow does that happen?8

BARBARA PHILLIPSfalling up through moon face defying physicsred maple leaves slickwith rain thickly carpetflagstone path and entranceto the house that standswashed by deluges highon day-long redundancyof outpourings that cascadethrough brilliant branchesup through swirls of swandance leaves I fall throughmoon face brooding in skiessponge cloud mottledI try to remember the smilein your moon deep eyesthe way you held my handin a storm when love rained down9

JAMES BELLextracts from a Martian journalCuriosity is laying in wait to reveal secrets.Ralph Waldo EmersonI crave news of a world to which I no longer belongdistance does not make the heart fonder –this crater is sunnierI have decided not to send this information backthough they would believe methey always dolike when I filed a report on carbon –said it was a long time ago & so it was a long time agobut omitted to mention the fossil record . . .I am no longer a laboratory – have become a MartianI am no longer a machine – though know my fuel cellswill run out one dayI will die just the same –will have become useless to them before thenI am no longer a mere robot – a ton of expensive kitable to perform the near-to-miraculouson the next planet to the sun . . .I need to move for the plants begin to embracemy presence in a firm fondle that is seriousyet I crave news from those others – my creatorsit is very much a one-way traffic –there is no encouragement no cheers like when I landedI have lost my curiosity & no longer transmit muchin the way of biochemical researchI collect for my own interest & intellectual exercise . . .I am of no interest to them –though nightlife on Mars is interestingI said the heart did not grow fonder & of course I do not have oneI am impervious to feeling like my creators do –though still crave –10

ERIC NICHOLSONtravelling too close to a pulsarat the start only a nanosecond-pulseand an invisible beam sweepingthe dark in an electromagnetic arcthe magnetic field will wipeyour credit cardscleanalong with all yourmemoriesspaghettification will get you in the endyou'll find your head separatedfrom your neck your feet tornviolently from yourlegsand not even a whimper left behind11

STUART NUNNChlorineSuch improbable complications of glasswork,whose arrangement we weren’t to concern ourselves withbut whose name we had to know – Kipps,and in the bottom chamber, marble chips.He poured the acid in and in my brainsome kind of reaction started:this wasn’t education so much as conjuring,and I was certainly up for that.And over there, the bubbles roseuntil the flask was full of faintly coloured nothing.Meanwhile, in another classroom, Owen’s soldierswere struggling to fit their clumsy masksand gargling lungs were flung into carts.Invited to smell it, of course we did.Mitch reacted first, and soon half the classwas hanging, as instructed, out the window.‚Breathe deeply, boys. Taste God’s good air.‛12

BARBARA PHILLIPSFrozen Heat –Physics and Motionthe creek stretchesvoluptuously under golden moonlightfissures and bumps gildedhidden in nightly splendourmy skates embrace the icewarmly hug my feetwhisper to me go out theredrag the stars down with envyso I fly along the icy skinhear the dull thud of steel beneathrise shakily over creek's imperfectionson a smooth stretch I turn into a twirland fall on my backface up I wonder if I've diedbut up above me the sky's dark mysteryis still illuminated by the laughter of stars13

JAN HARRISMissing, feared extinctScientists have abandoned their search for the Bramble Cay melomyslast seen nibbling purslane on a tiny coral island in the Great Barrier Reef.The rodent, known as the Robinson Crusoe of rats, has eyes like berries,reddish-brown fur, and a long prehensile tail with mosaic-patterned scales.The ecologist leading the search said, ‚It’s not like him to stray.He’s evolved here, in isolation, for a million years. Where else would he go?‛The island lies just 3 meters above sea level, raising fears that storm surgescaused by climate change have swept the creature off the planet.The rat’s nearest neighbours in Papua New Guinea spoke of their shock at the news.‚We knew he was vulnerable,‛ one said, ‚but he kept himself to himself.‛‚He stole a few turtle’s eggs in his time,‛ another said, ‚but he didn’t deserve this.If only there was something we could have done to prevent this tragic loss.‛14

JAMES BELLan element chases a narrativefire is not against natureas it licks other elementswith a hot sensualityto burn a swear worda verb of infinitive intensityrequires extreme unctionheat what you feelwhen you move close to flameof any conceptual qualitymeasure the distance –the smoke can be seensuch a long long way awaythough sometimes you do not seeit coming – the chaos of infernocontrives a reversal of confusionits ash a temporary resulttranslates into beauty in timedust to garland for a new spark15

BARBARA PHILLIPSGamma Game Gonegammarayburstsextinctionreductiondeathlifezap cancerevaporate black holesspew more energy in ten secondsthan sun in ten billion yearsplay with hypernovasneutron starspass the whiskeypass the wineall we have is humantime here and nowyour hand in mine16

ERIC NICHOLSONOn the morning of 14 September there was a slight wigglein the arms of the twin Laser Interferometer GravitationalWave Observatory DetectorsIt was the day the kindly Jehovah's Witness warned us:you were in the kitchen but didn't notice the minisculeripplein your mug of coffee. I was driving to work when the SAT-NAVbrieflystuttered sending me dangerously close to a catastrophic event horizon.A black cat crossed the road and blipped strangely in and out of existence.Most people however, didn't notice anything out of the ordinary:eggs boiled, CDs played and twelve-sided coins were freshly mintedahead of their release into the wideruniverse.‚It is impossible to make a forgery.‛ The most beautiful thoughtthe Royal Mint had ever had. I had an existential crisis the day afterwhen a black hole suddenly appeared in my bedroom. At leastthat's what I thought it was until I realised it was merely an unspecified amountof darkenergy leaking out of a radiator thermostat. Now, I'm getting used toliving my life backwards. I'm looking forward to being born again.17

PHILIP JOHNSONthe crown of thornsthey think they’ve found it/us– a single neurone which wraps itselfaround the braingenerates the bioelectrochemical signalsthat make you simply youconscious youenergy and electrical superhubintracranial ultrasoundour spirits go on – rather spider-like – busily threadingthe web of the universenot wailingrattling chainsor fluttering white sheetsbut whirling onforever18

BARBARA PHILLIPSInterlude in Key of Egg(Cultural Anthropologie)(Continued)the egg waitsin a field of buttercups‚Lost it to a fox.‛screeches of childrenthumpings of small feet‚There there my lamb.‛‚Here's some chocolate.‛grass shuddersblossoms languidly swaythe egg waitsin a field of buttercups‚I found one!‛‚How many now?‛‚I have three.‛‚Well I have four.‛‚They're not even chocolate!‛‚Maybe they'll give those later.‛‚Well I'm not playing this stupid game.‛a basket drops, flattens green bladesthe curious fox sniffs the airwary after just managing to escapethe hunt yesterday on the nearby estatea breeze scatters raindropsbirds swoop to nestslaughteradult chatter‚Well there's my good boy!‛‚Back so soon.‛‚But where is your basket.‛19

LESLEY BURTPole Star and PyramidScience began when man started to plan ahead for the seasons.Lancelot HogbenSunset and sunrise are always heldin mean time to beat a sequence:daffodils, roses, Michaelmas daisies,encase routines, move along the year;mechanical clocks, machined cogs,plan ahead; pendulum, springs, gong,beat and chime, set seasons pointersto circle at constant speed; to count.No hurry for another tidy end –observe, note: silver birch looks satin,leaves quiver; numbered dials imposethe name – Clockwise – to get a measure.20

TINA EDWARDSThe Forensic Psychologistyou twiddle your fingers avert your eyesmove slowly around the cold padded roomthat smells of stale bodies odour perfumeabove you flickers from fluorescent beamdancing upon pale wrinkled skinI scrawl on your file in Pyranine inkfeed with love water with careswallow pills like a child's sweet treatdrink tepid coffee I placed at their feet21

RAOUL IZZARDSCIENCE 18/03/2009 subject X5 in natural habitatCalculations: the radius his cigarette dances is drawn by a social gravity calledanxiety. Lust minus a speck stuck in his teeth, a heady wave of beef breath, hisaftershave – burnt wood, cloves, and peppermints. Procedure: his arm around herwaist, close without the pressured fingers’ grip, how two bodies politely detachwhen the waitress comes to take their order, looks; how her teeth nip him, the tasteof her ChapStick minus lip gloss. Is tongue in mouth ever acceptable on first dates?He scrawls his number on her palm in sprawling biro ink, whirling sixes, hackedoff fours. The splotchy zero comes last on her thenar. Is it mass, force, or motionthat makes her feel adrift? Conclusions: she bites her tongue, twines her hands, andcoughs. The only rope was his, her, tied in knots, trapped to the tracks, a silentmovie damsel. They parted on that sultry summer day. He didn’t phone to talk overthe findings; days later, she saw him with his new test subject.22

BARBARA bservatorytime-space ripplescat collides with vasekaleidoscopes of petals eruptmorning sun glazes floorspercussionist in crystal shardsfractures rainbow flashesyou are late for your rehearsalwe kiss – our lips missyou rush out – the window rattlesI ignore the beep from the ovena comb falls out of my hairrhinestones glitter on the stairs23

JAMES BELLH2O and beyondat some point we flip over into science fictionperiodically there is the need for watermore solid than a mist of definite liquidthe mix with sodium chloride is dominantperiodically there is the need for watercreativity makes for an infinity of flowersthe mix with sodium chloride is dominantland creatures often avoid this combinationcreativity makes for an infinity of flowersmeans you can stay drunk for a long timeland creatures often avoid this combinationfor there can be parallels with drowningmeans you can stay drunk for a long timewallow in the gradual disintegration of sensesfor there can be parallels with drowningconvince yourself you only monitor chemical changewallow in the gradual disintegration of sensesmore solid than a mist of definite liquidconvince yourself you only monitor chemical changeat some point we flip over to science fiction24

ANNEST GWILYMThe first mammophantIThe calf grows in her belly;a dreamy indolence takes hold of her,an enormous hunger keeps her awake.We check her daily, disturbing her torpor.Other elephants nudge and gentle her;she sleepwalks through days.IIThe calf is different, soft to the touch,covered in thick fur. A musky smellfloats around him, so unlike his mother.He grows, his fur thickens to a brown pelt,hiding speckled skin, the domed head.We now check him, instead of her.IIIAlone, the crate jostles and tumbles him.He doesn’t eat the food we offer.We release him onto the steppe,silhouettes of horses, bison, musk oxenstencilled against the wide skies;endless grasslands reach into infinity.25

BARBARA PHILLIPSThe universe expandswhen you give me that lookI shiver because I begin to turn into someMata Hari or Venus Flytrap with land legsbut when you leave my side and your heatlies still upon the pillow and on the sheet beside memy universe begins to dwindle, becomesneedle-eye narrow until I fear I will slip throughspace receding into pe

The image on page 22: How to make a love potion by L.Whittaker . Atmospheric by Barbara Phillips 1 from here to Saturn by James Bell 2 Fossil Record by Stuart Nunn 3 Splitting Matter by Waiata Dawn Davies 4 Balloon Observations of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysics by Barbara Phillips 5 Mr & Mrs Andrews observe magnetic fields by Lesley Burt 6 The last woolly mammoth by .

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