Along Came a Poem

08 Jan

And, it’s all to dVerse. Their prompt: Blackout poetry – so bring out thick black pens and take an old book. Look for the hidden poetry in those words. My book isn’t old and it isn’t fiction. I know: I never follow instructions. I went straight to Google. I knew I wanted something to do with astronomy and was hoping for diary pages. The first thing I looked at, out of curiosity, was a site that shows a new astronomy photograph every day. I took the paragraph underneath the photo and did my blackout with it. I will give you the paragraph here, but have also included a link to the site.

These clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula, NGC 7023 is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers, though. Still, this deep telescopic view shows off the Iris Nebula’s range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the dusty clouds glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star’s invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The pretty blue petals of the Iris Nebula span about six light-years.

The Iris Nebula

Clouds of interstellar dust
blossomed in star fields.
Still symmetries within the Iris:
a hot, young star brighter,
reflecting starlight.

Filaments glow with dust
grains — the star’s invisible
light — contain blue petals.

Head to dVerse to see what others have done. Blackouts are an interesting technique.


Posted by on 08/01/2015 in poems, poetry


Tags: , , , ,

38 responses to “Along Came a Poem

  1. Mary

    08/01/2015 at 6:17 pm

    Whew, I am impressed with the way you could make poetry from a scientific passage difficult to understand. Your poem made the idea (almost) clear!

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:39 am

      Thanks, Mary. When I finally decided the heck with the actuality, I got the poem.

  2. Gabriella

    08/01/2015 at 6:20 pm

    Interesting to use a text about blackouts for blackout poetry and then turn it into poetry. I like the images you conjured up, especially in the last stanza.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:41 am

      Serendipitous find, Gabriella. I love the final image, especially given the nebula is named for a blue flower [which is probably why it was so named!].

  3. Grace

    08/01/2015 at 6:28 pm

    What a lovely creation, both to the star and the found poem ~ I like your process notes, smiles ~

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:42 am

      Thank you, Grace. I enjoy process notes πŸ™‚

  4. wolfsrosebud

    08/01/2015 at 6:32 pm

    love the picture this creates… beautiful

  5. georgeplace2013

    08/01/2015 at 7:08 pm

    Love those last three lines. So beautifully poetic out of scientific facts.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:43 am

      Now, that I reread the poem with what you say in mind, Debi, I like the last three lines as the poem, scrub the rest!

  6. brian miller

    08/01/2015 at 7:11 pm

    it would be quite cool to see a star being born…
    i find space fascinating in all its wonders….
    i see it rather as a flower….

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:45 am

      There is something magic, something awe inspiring, isn’t there?
      I think you wrote your own poem, there, Brian.

  7. Victoria C. Slotto

    08/01/2015 at 7:12 pm

    Breath-taking, Margo. Nebula are so incredibly beautiful and I love that you chose non-fiction–astronomy, no less!

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:46 am

      I am a wild one, Victoria. Thank you. I have been on the track of something non-fiction to do a series of erasures from and I love astronomy…

  8. Glenn Buttkus

    08/01/2015 at 8:03 pm

    Wonderful use of the hard data, the scientific-speak, & arranging it as poetics; last two lines are killer; will be looking for those blue petals from now on.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:56 am

      Thanks, Glenn. I’m beginning to think the final poem might be the last three lines.

  9. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade)

    08/01/2015 at 10:19 pm

    How to turn science into poetry! Very beautiful, with a particularly sweet finale.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:53 am

      Thank you, Rosemary. I had fun.

  10. Prajakta

    09/01/2015 at 12:26 am

    This is a very very beautiful piece indeed. Has a divine touch to it, the magic of a new star blooming. And to do this from a non-fiction piece is brilliant!

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:54 am

      Thank you so much, Prajakta!

  11. BjΓΆrn Rudberg (brudberg)

    09/01/2015 at 12:38 am

    Love this.. Scientific texts are great to use.. And a text having words like filaments in them.. I love that.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:47 am

      I do, too, Bjorn. It’s a beautiful word.


    09/01/2015 at 2:17 am

    You’re good at this, Margo. I haven’t got very far with it.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:52 am

      ViV, I have found that a few words at a time does it when you’re figuring out how. This is only my third blackout poem and I didn’t show all the steps because it would have involved taking a picture of the file and that gets too techy for me. Find a likely page or paragraph and, like Michaelangelo carving, remove what isn’t needed. Start with obvious words and phrases (whole sentences even) you know you don’t want. Look at what’s left. Start thinking possible line breaks and that will show you the next few words and phrases you want to cut. Remove them. Look at what’s left. I find it rather soothing. Grin.


        09/01/2015 at 9:48 am

        Thank you for the explanation, Margo. I could do with some soothing having been struggling with an experimental (for me) quilting technique which I could have done better traditionally in a tenth of the time!

        • margo roby

          09/01/2015 at 10:37 am

          That’s how I used to feel about blackout/erasure poetry. After looking at the poem again, today, if I hadn’t being quick to post, I would have a final poem that’s just the last three lines.

  13. lynn__

    09/01/2015 at 6:48 am

    To glean poetry from science text…this one shines brilliant!

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:53 am

      Thank you, Lynn!

  14. Misky

    09/01/2015 at 7:57 am

    How different ours are, and yet so alike. It’s like watching snowflakes, and thinking they’re all the same.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 7:58 am

      I love your analogy! I’ll be over to read after I post the blog.

  15. Other Mary

    09/01/2015 at 8:27 am

    Very cool! I used a science-y book too. ) Great result.

    • margo roby

      09/01/2015 at 8:29 am

      I’m looking forward to reading. I haven’t gotten back yet but hope to as soon as I post my blog.

  16. claudia

    09/01/2015 at 12:32 pm

    oh i love the symmetries within the Iris… such a great analogy

  17. Carol Carlisle

    09/01/2015 at 2:22 pm

    Fantastic! I learn as much about the nebula from your poem as from the scientific work!!
    I did the same for Praise Song For The Day (written Obama) in my writing class not knowing it was a challenge..

    • margo roby

      25/01/2015 at 10:28 am

      Carol! How are you? This is why I never archive an email from my blog until I have triple checked that I have answered everyone. Just yesterday I was wondering if you were alright, as things have been quiet your way. Today I look to see why this is still in my inbox and there you are, patiently waiting.

      I hope 2015 is treating you right, so far. Good to see you.


      • Carol Carlisle

        25/01/2015 at 4:32 pm

        How very sweet to think of me. All is well thank πŸ‘ you. I have be out of the writing world of late, do people actually say that?
        I am teaching iPhone photography which seems to be directing all of my creative juices to the Visual. I only post a couple of times a week now. As you must know teaching takes a lot of brain space. I do look at your Tuesday Try its. I’ll try to at least say hi. I do miss that wily group of wordsmiths.
        Happy New year

  18. Hannah Gosselin

    11/01/2015 at 4:58 pm

    I love, LOVE galactic and what you’ve pulled and poemed together is gorgeous, Margo…so nice to see you in my inbox with a poem!! πŸ™‚

    • margo roby

      13/01/2015 at 10:06 am

      It felt good to have a poem, Hannah. Thank you, muchly πŸ™‚

      I have to start gearing up for April!

      • Hannah Gosselin

        13/01/2015 at 10:30 am

        Very true!! It’s really, just around the corner! πŸ™‚


Join the discussion and feel free to critique, or suggest an idea for any poem I post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: