A while back I half joked with a colleague at work who was asking about a website for a conference for international researchers studying krill – “I could write you a poem as well, if you like.” He was back in touch with another question last week, and asked in passing, “Did you ever write that poem?” Well, I hadn’t, but I have now – so here you go, Andy!
My apologies to any krill-gurus out there for possible wild inaccuracies, but please remember, it’s not science – just a poem.
But also, it’s not entirely about krill…
We are krill
I am the meal that’s in-between,
a format suiting one and all,
for seals and squid and penguins,
converting the smallest of the sea,
for fish and shrimps and people, the
unseen convenience food that’s me.
No legends sung about us krills,
shape shifters of seven seas,
they ping us under pressure,
exoskeletons creaking we dive, dive, dive,
cosy swarm lights rising fallen,
gills bless this brine to wines of life.
More of us aswim than any other
swelling life in each ocean alive,
and not much here without us,
no great whales baleen or blue,
without some fish-free small fry,
brother, without us – me and you.
SciArt Magazine has published an interview I did following up on my work in the recent ‘Embodied‘ exhibit. They had some hard questions!
This piece (words, sound, image) was made in response to a New Scientist article by Jessica Hamselou about studies by researchers at the University of St Andrews, and the University of Western Ontario into the phenomenon of déjá vu.
You read more about the science in Jessica’s fascinating article online at New Scientist.
My reading and the poem are below, click on the wee tiny thumbnail for a larger version of the image.
Chuffed to have a new poem ‘Cosmological Constant’ appear in Poet’s Corner this as part of their theme ‘Identity: All of Me’
You can find it at https://leavenerspoetscorner.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/identity-cosmological-constant/
Empty specimen tube
Only the glass and a label remain,
Hand inked and underscored in 1898,
Now discoloured, cracked and torn:
KING of the HERRING
Chimae … monserosa
Great Fisher Bank. 1898
Lord of darlings,
Bright as salt burnished silver.
Ozymandias of the herring kind.
THE GREAT NEBULA OF ORION: A digital print of a photographic plate from the Ritchey 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, made in 1908. from the archive of the Carnegie Observatories, in Pasadena, California.
more about this
Not all spaces weigh the same.
There are variations. The depths and darknesses,
Volume, lightness, and quintessences, of
Every emptiness’s chiaroscuro.
Not all spaces are devoid of presence, some
Harbour unstated substance in subtle doubt,
Pass trembling semaphores of existence,
Harmonise plainsung intimations of light.
Not all spaces are rendered on our charts, still
Undiscovered emptier places may await. Nulls of
Colder, quieter, unexpressed embraces. Voids as
Void as only absence might surrender.
This poem was written after I saw a picture of a ‘ghost heart’. This is a kind of ‘protein scaffold’ in researchers hope to be able use to grow a new human heart which will not have problems with rejection by the recipient’s immune system. It’s a remarkable image, I found it at once beautiful, hopeful, and troubling. (more about ‘ghost hearts’…
Delicate snowball cradled in latex,
Grotesque confectionary beauty,
Like a glass seed distilled from haar frost,
A harvested death, still unprimed for life.
Wrapped in an eastern widow’s veil,
A bridal chalice engraved with loss,
Gently cupped with gloved competence,
A denatured vessel etched in air.
Reborn, bloody, swollen and restarted,
Will this pale ornament seem quite so fine?
Bonny is as bonny dances, pressing
By hot and ruddy, stealing heat from stone.
The image cusps our movement in-between,
Risky hopes drawn from disembodied flesh.