Two Poems by Alicia Sometimes

JOCELYN BELL BURNELL

>

If we assume we’ve arrived:

we stop searching, we stop developing
>

proud pulsars
>

residue

of massive stars

collapsing into

a neutron star

strobing supernova
>

spherical and dense

the size of a bustling city

more mass than our sun
>

beams of electromagnetic radiation

whirling from its magnetic poles

recurring signals – palpitating refrains from space
>

– first observed in 1967

by Jocelyn Bell Burnell

and Antony Hewish –`
>

Someone takes a photo of student Burnell:

Look happy dear, you’ve just made a discovery!
>

in 1974 Hewish receives

a Nobel Prize in Physics

(alongside Martin Ryle)
>

millisecond pulsars can siphon matter

and momentum from its companion
>

Burnell wins other weighty awards

an abundance of all her significant work
.

she donates a substantial sum to further

those who are most often ignored in science—

in hope they strive becoming physics researchers
>

pulsars radiating light
>

in multiple wavelengths

>

BIRD CALLS

>

We’re keeping an invisible chart

delineating the days between every

 >

face to face conversation. We begin

to get creative in confinement: turn 

 >

ourselves into maple origami, fashion 

hammocks out of blankets, craft vessels 

 >

from old vinyl. Shape bread into words.

Invert every room. We are undergoing

>

lasting transformations. It’s impossible

listening to Charles Mingus standing 

> 

still. You just want to scoop yourself up

and parachute from on top of the house

 >

as sonorous notes chase you, freefalling.

Each breath outside becomes triumphant.

 .

Anything to nurture the fierce yearning

the longing for touch, even predictability.

 <

We reach out and deliver daisies and cake.

Envelopes with wine red pencil marks. Trick

 >

cards with faces. We stretch out our ears into

the afternoon sun listening to the wattlebird.

 >

They sing in sparkling paragraphs. No

thought or care of yesterdays or tomorrows

>

or any afterlife. But we do. Always 

carrying this extended memory with us. 

> 

Constructing our own symphonies

of everyone’s shared experiences –

>

united tapestry of single notes

 

Poems Alice Sometimes

Alicia Sometimes is a writer and broadcaster. Her poems are published in Best Australian Science Writing, Best Australian Poems, Meanjin, Griffith Review and more. She is director and co-writer of the science-poetry planetarium shows, Elemental and Particle/Wave. Her TedxUQ talk about the passion of combining art with science can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch Website: www.aliciasometimes.com

About the contributor

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