Category Archives: Ephemeron

Seamus Heaney

The Death of a Naturalist
by Seamus Heaney

All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragonflies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst, into nimble
Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
In rain.

Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.

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Filed under Bagatelle, Ephemeron, Poems

NASA

After the New Year I sent this letter to NASA:

Hi NASA.

So, I just read this blog post:
http://kottke.org/15/02/current-paradoxes-in-cosmology

Which took me to this blog post:
https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-paradoxes-that-threaten-to-tear-modern-cosmology-apart-d334a7fcfdb6

They describe this paradox:

“What’s more, there is an energy associated with any given volume of the universe. If that volume increases, the inescapable conclusion is that this energy must increase as well. And yet physicists generally think that energy creation is forbidden.”

Here’s my Question: Why does increased VOLUME necessarily mean increased ENERGY when that VOLUME is a vacuum. Can’t the energy and matter just be spreading across the universe through a vacuum without altering total ENERGY?  Like marbles across a floor?

Thank you,
Chad

A few weeks later NASA replied thus:

The answer is that it is the energy density that is constant, so as the volume increases, there must be more energy. The constant energy density seems to be an observed feature of the Universe – that is, it is needed to explain the observed expansion in a simple way compatible with General Relativity. Here is a more detailed explanation:
http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/11/16/why-does-dark-energy-make-the-universe-accelerate/

You might also enjoy reading a related post:
http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2010/02/22/energy-is-not-conserved/

Here is a good site for anyone interested in astronomy:
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Brian and Jeff
for Ask an Astrophysicist

Editorial. I’m still unsure what’s going on. I need to find me an astrophysicist in the flesh.

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Eleanor Lerman

Small Talk
by Eleanor Lerman

It is a mild day in the suburbs
Windy, a little gray. If there is
sunlight, it enters through the
kitchen window and spreads
itself, thin as a napkin, beside
the coffee cup, pie on a plate

What am I describing?
I am describing a dream
in which nobody has died

These are our mothers:
your mother and mine
It is an empty day; everyone
else is gone. Our mothers
are sitting in red chairs
that look like metal hearts
and they are smoking
Your mother is wearing
sandals and a skirt. My
mother is thinking about
dinner. The bread, the meat

Later, there will be
no reason to remember
this, so remember it
now: a safe day. Time
passes into dim history.

And we are their babies
sleeping in the folds of
the wind. Whatever our
chances, these are the
women. Such small talk
before life begins

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org?date=2010/09/08

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Filed under Bagatelle, Ephemeron, Love, Poems

Kay Ryan

That Will to Divest
by Kay Ryan

Action creates
a taste
for itself.
Meaning: once
you’ve swept
the shelves
of spoons
and plates
you kept
for guests,
it gets harder,
not to also
simplfy the larder,
not to dismiss
rooms, not to
divest yourself
of all the chairs
but one, not
to test what
singleness can bear,
once you’ve begun.

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Filed under Ephemeron, Poems, Praxis

Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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Filed under Ephemeron, Expectancy

Walt Whitman

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
by Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

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Filed under Ephemeron, Historiography, Poems

Yiddish Proverb

Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht.
Man plans, God laughs.

Editorial: Think of all the ludicrous demands made by the fickle gods of ancient mythology: sacrifice this virgin, build a boat, fetch me that animal, if you do this you live and if you don’t you die. On and on. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how some events happen in ways that are surprising and even poetic, as if the gods are indeed crazy and indeed have a wicked sense of humor. The impatient man just misses the bus. The composer loses his hearing. The marathoner dies of heart disease. But how is it that the alternative to the gods giving you exactly what you cannot handle is equally vexing: when the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers. This means the gods have us suffering coming and going– when they do and do not grant our wishes. The fact that both scenarios are coincidences means little to people who tend to fault or credit the divine for everything that occurs in patterns. Either way I certainly enjoy the proverbs and clichés that spring up around their explanation, especially Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht!

More here… ( Dec. 6, 2010)

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Filed under Editorial, Ephemeron, Expectancy, Quotes