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Poetry

Comets

From the LabLit science verse series

rpg 15 February 2009

www.lablit.com/article/471

It’s cold, out in the Oort Cloud.
So every now and then
we holiday in the Sun:

Sending postcards from the Kuiper Belt
we strip off our winter coats
and just wear scarves against the wind.

We take in the gas giants
the rimy moons
the organic oases

(that according to Hoyle
we might have seeded with life—
but then we might not: we’re not saying).

Tweaking the Solar System’s girdle:
Hasn’t Ceres grown?
—no, it’s a trick of the starlight.

We tease Lagrange points,
those minima of potential
where the kinetic is poised,

where a tickle of gravity
stirs up the fluff
at the bottom of the well.

We like Earth:
your smiling moon, and
you always leave the lights on.

But we never stop for long
at the pinch of perihelion.
We check for doppelgangers,

coins down the sofa;
shells in the sand;
And then we’re gone.

You think it’s nice of us to drop in
though you only see us on holiday
every few centuries.

It’s fun to visit
foreign parts.
But we wouldn’t want to live there:

Don’t pity us.
We’re not lonely at aphelion:
We have each other.