Friday, 28 June 2013

hydrogen bonds pulse

An unrelated photograph 
 This week I have been revising some of the poems from my collaboration will Alison Wilson that we will be premiering later in the year. I also ran a workshop for the poetry group I am a member of Juncture 25. The brief I set was to think of:

 A famous person from the past
 A job that people do today-preferably one that you could not imagine the historical person undertaking.
 A recent scientific discovery.

We then read out our ideas to the group and people were free to use any of the material as they wished.

My own contribution was Florence Nightingale, collecting supermarket shopping trollies and research into the hydrogen bond in water. Apparently the bond turns off and on many thousand times a second. Scientists do not know why and are attempting to use quantum mechanics to explain it.  I know my description is pitiful so here is a link to the radio programme I heard it on.

This is the [revised] poem I came up with.

Florence is a stupid name
so she swaps it for Spike,
tatts and a shaved head.
She surveys the supermarket car park
causally curses idle civilians,
too lazy to return their empty trollies.
Still she’s out in the fresh air-that’s good,
even on a day like this.
the rain runs down her face,
the water sings, hydrogen bonds pulse
-off, on, on off.
Metal screams- the bloody wheel's stuck again!
But though it heralds entropy
and the inevitable heat death of the universe,
she don’t need no quantum mechanic,
she can do it for herself with a spanner.

I am not sure it works. I’d be interested in your opinions and in any workshop exercises you have come up.

Here’s another poem about Yuri Gagarin:


From that spinning capsule Gagarin jumped,
it twisted under his feet, tumbled away.
He knew just how far to trust technology,
enough to get him there and nearly back.

There can be no return to some past state of grace,

Gagarin would realise this as he fought the controls,
willing the jet to wing over the town.
too low and too late to eject,
locked on death’s trajectory.

You can read about his life and the triumphs of the Soviet space programme here. Staying with the Russian theme I am looking forward to seeing the Chagall exhibition at the LiverpoolTate this weekend. Have a good week.


  1. I love the science elements in these poems.

    1. Thanks Golden Eagle glad you like them.