April 12, 2016

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Day 18: Mysterious Space Sounds

Yesterday was Day 18 of Author Amok's 2015 poem-a-day project. We are spending February writing in response to sounds.  

For a full description of the project and how to participate, please read this post. I hope you'll join us. I'll continue posting poems from Day 18 as they come in. I hope to have Day 19 up later this afternoon. Thanks to everyone who has sent in poems so far. We've written over 90 new poems already this month!

Our Day 18 prompt is a recording of space sounds. Thank you to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes for recommending this clip. Did anyone else spot a human face in Earth’s clouds (at 6:04)? If you did, you might want to look up the word pareidolia.

I’m sharing some of Mike Ratcliffe’s email about this sound, because I’m fascinated with how people move from prompt to idea to created object (poem).

Mike says, “Day 18's sounds really resonated with me. It struck a chord with my interests in philosophy and metaphysics.  Starting from vague notions about the music of the spheres (not to mention, remembering that, in Tolkien's Silmarillion, the earth is formed from the harmonious singing of the lesser gods), my research led me to Pythagoras, who theorized that the Sun, Moon, and planets each emit a unique tone based on their respective orbital revolutions.  Has science proven Pythagoras right?”

Musica Universalis
By Mike Ratcliffe

And could it be that we are music
emanating from the stars,
harmonies formed from the
immense monochord, sacred
octaves in a cosmic chant, the
universal hum, the celestial 

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes is contributing her first pantoum ever! Kudos, Michelle. This poem is an elegy for a friend of Michelle’s who died recently. You can read more at Michelle’s blog, where she has a post about the poem.

Night Whispers

Whispers from the shadowed night
Lonely winds of time and space
One more poem yet to write
Trapped in gravity's embrace

Lonely winds of time and space
Glowing embers, pulsing light
Trapped in gravity's embrace
Before the blackness turns to white

Glowing embers, pulsing light,
Like eyes behind a clouded face
Before the blackness turns to white
Before you find your resting place

Like eyes behind a clouded face
There's one more poem yet to write
Before you find your resting place
And whisper from the shadowed night.
© 2015 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.

Sometimes, when you’re taking on a large subject (e.g. The Universe), it helps to put it in a box. Using a form can help a poet contain difficult or vast subject matter. Margaret Simon has a SOLAR WIND acrostic for us.

Planetary Womb
By Margaret Simon

Outer space of the gods
Listen to crystal glass singing
A swarm of bees
Rumble of waves
Wind blown currents
Into my limited schema of
Nature--true, wild,

Linda Baie’s poem considers some of the moral complexities of space exploration.

Lost – Them or Us?

Speaking loud,
beast or man,
are you lost?
Do we misunderstand
this outer space
of realms unknown,
interpreting sounds
of a different tone?
Humans here!
Pick up the phone!
We yearn to know
we’re not alone.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

I like how Charles Waters’ poem integrates some of the science required to capture these sounds.

NASA’s space ears pick up our solar system
Sounding like the purring of winds
Whipping up parched dirt,
Fighter jets darting to their next mission,
Sea conches buzzing hidden messages.
These electromagnetic vibrations
Signify the heartbeat of our cosmos.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

I was intrigued by the name Miranda, borrowed from Shakespeare, as well as the quiet humming voice of the moon named Miranda in today's sound clip. This moon of Uranus has such an unusual appearance that scientists use unkind terms in their descriptions of Miranda. I've used some of these in the poem. (P.S. She’s one of five moons in Uranus’ family, so my title is a bit tongue in cheek.)

Sister Moon
By Laura Shovan

Miranda looks like she was pieced
from parts that never merged,
a lunar Frankenstein’s monster.
Ridges and valleys line her face
like mismatched patches
on a moth-eaten coat.
Even from a distance,
she’s labeled bizarre, deformed.
Why does she look so odd?
It’s the way Uranus squeezes her.
She can’t deny his gravitational pull,
but all that pinching and binding
makes her insides churn.
She boils below the surface,
the wrong kind of heat.
Her icy skin contorts, cracks.
Maybe a word escapes with wind.
Maybe a song.

Patricia VanAmburg stopped in today with a haiku and an exciting bit of space news, which you can read here:

Earthsong NASA
by Patricia VanAmburg

Galaxy Chirping
No average rite of spring

Mating calls from space

Here are all of the sound prompts for the third week of February. As promised, I included a couple of sounds from New Mexico:

Sunday, February 15

Video of Santa Fe's Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi by my Albuquerque friend, Jennifer Lewis.

Monday, February 16
Quaking aspen. Read more about this sound here.

Laughing child

The sounds of space

Friday, February 20
Follow the link to choose your reptile.
You'll need to turn the volume high to hear this one.

If you'd like some poem-starters to wake up your muse, you'll find them at the bottom of this post. Drop in any time with a poem. I’ll continue to post your work throughout the month, no matter which sound you are writing in response to.

Would you like to read what we’ve written so far? Here are links to the week 2 poems. You can find links to the week 1 poems on all of these posts:

Sound of Waves Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, and Charles Waters.

Bubbling Cauldron Poems by Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Laura Shovan, and Buffy Silverman.

Fireworks Poems by Charles Waters, Diane Mayr, and Laura Shovan.

Classic Typewriter Sound Poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Charles Waters, Mike Ratcliffe, and Laura Shovan.

Mockingbird Poems by Linda Baie, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, and Margaret Simon.

Cape Eagle Owl Call Poems by Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, and Diane Mayr.

Male Woodcock Mating Call Poems by Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Mike Ratcliffe, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, and Charles Waters.


Michael Ratcliffe said...
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Michael Ratcliffe said...

Wonderful poems! Margaret and Charles each described sounds in the same way I heard them-- fighter jets, waves, winds blowing. And, I love Michelle's pantoum.

Laura, I'll a bit more about process. In my reading about Pythagoras, I also learned that it was believed that each of the seven heavens sang one of the seven sacred vowels: the first sang alpha, the second epsilon, then (h)eta, iota, omicron, upsilon, to the seventh singing omega. All of these blended into harmonious praise for the creator. I incorporated this into my poem. There are seven lines, each starting with one of the sacred vowels, alpha to omega.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Wonderful work by everyone! What a joy to relish all of these different interpretations. Not just for today's sound, but for each and every sound prompt. We hear things differently on so many levels! Today's favorite, for me, was Mike Ratcliffe's. Loved hearing the background research and thought process involved too.

Anonymous said...

Yes to the music of the spheres Mike--which includes the singing of glass Margaret. And yes Laura, I see the face. Your poem reminded me of the movie about St. Francis--Brother sun Sister Moon. I saw the thread in today's poems as a yearning for harmony and connection (?)--and I admired the contribution of each poet. Patricia

Linda B said...

Today, truly poignant poems, from both personal experience or learned and contemplated, it's lovely to read the words those eerie sounds carry us to.

Margaret Simon said...

I am swimming in deep water with the masters. Wow, Mike! Such work with form and integrating research. And Michelle haunts me with her pantoum. I believe that your awesomeness is rubbing off on me. Thanks for this treat!

Karin Fisher-Golton said...

All the poems are so wonderful. What richness here. Mike, the question in your poem is so beautiful. It truly took my breath away. Michelle, I am such a fan of pantoums. I hope this is your first of many it is poignantly beautiful. The repetition seems echoey and fits with the notion vast space.

Diane Mayr said...

These are all wonderful! Laura, you've increased my knowledge of Uranus by 100%!

I have enough on my plate down here on earth this week, so I'm very happy that everyone else took on the universe!

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Mike. I wouldn't have caught that. It gives your poem an extra layer.

Author Amok said...

Funny! It takes many poets to map the universe.

Author Amok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.