Light-Scattered Fire Upon Us

For Acts of Speech, in the “public” (not performance) section, I’m writing a few poems that focus on intersections of myth, modern astronomy/cosmology, sometimes philosophy, and the Gods, with the core idea that on some level, the physical things I am discussing are symbols that can easily and smoothly connect to stories and concepts that are already there in polytheistic thought. Given my background, I think working out such poems is a useful contribution to the community and our conversations about the Gods. What bricolage, am I right?

It probably doesn’t come out exactly that way in each poem taken on its own, but this one is an example of the stuff I’m experimenting with in that section. I thought I’d post it here as a general update, but also, this blog is going to be a bit quiet for some days because I’m doing event stuff at work followed by a busy weekend.

Enjoy. It’s very Orphic.

“Light-Scattered Fire Upon Us”

oscillating as if struck
a singularity of harmony
beginning unfathomed anew

we opened up like a maw ready
all that came before swallowed
into the place that yet sings

give birth, sweetness, give
there is no seed in Gê’s house
but what her vessels pour out

sudden bright electric moving
the limit a being without edge
light-scattered fire upon us

still it quenches itself dark
there is seed in the shadows
a flower grows tall enmeadowed

in this steady sequence of rulers
past only visible through Zeus
empowered, sceptered, enthroned

feel the static on your hands
clear as Hubble photographs
gritty as the Planck images

hydrogen and helium make light
supernovae disgorge all metals beyond
what violence gives are tools for war

hear the knife as it falls on Zagreus
the shadow of a God’s stable reign
the popping, space itself pulling apart

will a new coronation come up
tomorrow unfathomable again
after constant change is cut down


The seed for this poem was planted in November while working on the citation analysis of the Nobel laureates in Physics, specifically when I was checking to make sure I was explaining the cosmic microwave background properly. After submission, I expected to wait a few weeks even though it’s technically an annual column, but it turns out I did a decent job this year and didn’t need a ton of editing. It’s a relief to know that given how stressed I was about finishing it.

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