Dark Matter: Poems of Space
By Maurice Riordan & Jocelyn Bell Burnell
The Very Small Baseline Group Convenes at The Cat and Fiddle
by Neil Rollinson
A groaning table of empties makes up our Very Small Array — a barley-scented interferometer. Here we can study the cosmos and drink. We tune in to the microwave sky: to the froth at the edge of the universe. We sup in the dusk, everything glows with its own light: the hedgerow, lawn, the atoms inside the glass. The Milky Way sings in a half-inch of Guinness a song of distant past when the world was a moment old. We gather it all in our mugs, in a pub garden on the edge of the moors, looking down on Jodrell Bank: Queen of the red-light district, cocking her huge lug to the mayhem beyond our patch. The bats are in on it, hunting in ultrasound, catching moths in their fangs, while frogs bark in the meadows, one to the other, a vast unfathomable love-song. I finish my pint and add my glass to the phalanx: the more we drink the clearer we see, as any old soak will tell you. I tip back my head to look at the Pleiades and tumble, arse over tit, into the damp grass. I lie in my cups under the bling of the northern sky. I can hear it now, I can see it all clearly, all and nothing, just the whole sky blazing.
About this article
Poets paired with astronomers have created 16 new poems, including this one, that form part of a collection of 100 poems about the wonder of the Universe.