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the mote in god’s eye

I went to Addenbrooke’s hospital yesterday morning for a blood test, and walked along the corridor to the food court. I usually enjoy the temporary displays of art along that corridor, but yesterday for the first time, my eye was caught by the first line of a poem written on the wall in large letters. On my return after eating, I noted down the first stanza. It turns out to be the winning entry in a competition written by Robert Sneezum, a staff member. Encouraged by the mention in the poem of the Helix Nebula, I looked it up online, to find the following image, which reminded me of ‘The Mote in God’s Eye’ by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and it illustrates the last part of the first stanza.

helix_nebula_by_avechomik-d5a0kv4

Here’s the first stanza of Robert Sneezum’s poem, ‘Ignoring the Curve of the Earth’ in full:

It may be that the most heartbreaking shards
of beauty in the universe amuse
themselves in endless descent down distant
bleak corridors. Such as ‘The Eye of God’
or Helix Nebula, whose stellar core
ignites a pupil of mute burning blues
in an iris of tremulous orange.

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Friday, November 6th, 2015 poetry

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