Explaining Relativity - Rebecca Elson

Forget the clatter of ballistics,
The monologue of falling stones,
The sharp vectors
And the stiff numbered grids.
It's so much more a thing of pliancy, persuasion,
Where space might cup itself around a planet
Like your palm around a stone,
Where you, yourself the planet,
Caught up in some geodesic dream,
Might wake to feel it enfold your weight
And know there is, in fact, no falling.
It is this, and the existence of limits.
(received from an astrophysicist this morning)


Rebecca Elson - 'Girl with a Balloon'

From this, the universe

In its industrial age,

With all the stars lit up

Roaring, banging, spitting,

Their black ash settling

Into every form of life,


You might look back with longing

To the weightlessness, the elemental,

Of the early years.


As leaning out the window

You might see a child

Going down the road,

A red balloon,

A little bit of pure Big Bang,

Bobbing at the end of her string


Note: Most of the helium in the universe was created in the Big Bang.

Rebecca Elson was an astrophysicist and poet.

Rebecca Elson - 'We Astronomers'

We astronomers are nomads,

Merchants, circus people,

All the earth our tent.

We are industrious.

We breed enthusiasms,

Honour our responsibility to awe.


But the universe has moved a long way off.

Sometimes, I confess,

Starlight seems too sharp,


And like the moon

I bend my face to the ground,

To the small patch where each foot falls,


Before it falls,

And I forget to ask questions,

And only count things.


by Rebecca Elson,astophysicist and poet