Poetry Friday: The Universe, An Abecedarian

I was two years old when John F. Kennedy declared “we chose to go to the moon…and do other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Space exploration was woven into the background of my childhood, and it has always captivated me. So I was paying close attention last week as the Cassini spacecraft met its fiery end in Saturn’s butterscotch clouds. Cassini and its mission to explore Saturn, its rings, and moons seemed like a worthy subject for Michelle Barnes’s September ditty challenge from Carole Boston Weatherford.

It soon became clear, though, that writing an abecedarian about Saturn and the Cassini mission would be hard! It threatened to become a list of some of Saturn’s 53 named moons. Not giving up, I expanded my focus to include the whole universe and came up with this draft.

Astral bodies:
dwarf planets with
eccentric orbits,
frozen moons,
glowing stars,
haloes of hydrogen and helium
jet black space,
kindling wonder,
launching dreams to
mine the mysteries of
nebulous interstellar dust, the
Oort cloud,
pulsing quasars, and
spiral galaxies
tumbling through the
universe, emitting
visible and invisible
wavelengths of light and
yielding amazement and awe, our
zeal for discovery never-ending.

© Catherine Flynn, 2017

The Veil Nebula,
Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Please be sure to head over to Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s Poem Farm for the Poetry Friday Roundup!


14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The Universe, An Abecedarian

  1. Well done, Catherine! After playing around with this form myself, I really appreciate how challenging this is and admire how your poem flows so naturally. Your ending lines are perfect (I am so envious of you finding those x,y, and z words!) and reinforce your fascination with the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I listened to a TED radio talk today that mentioned the JFK quote about the moon. There is a company that encourages failure. Your poem is a wonderful abecedarian. I love these lines, “kindling wonder,
    launching dreams” . I will be sharing with my students. I’m not sure if they are quite ready to tackle such a difficult form, but maybe I should just give it a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done! Isn’t it amazing just how intimidating that form is until you stick with it and play. Then, it becomes fun and you are almost done. Ha!
    I’m especially impressed with haloes of hydrogen and helium. That just sounds pretty!
    Now I’m off to google Oort cloud.
    Happy Poetry Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So much to love in your poem. Here are my favorite lines:
    jet black space,
    kindling wonder,
    launching dreams…”
    It’s perfect how you linked your own delight in space exploration into the lines of your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Holy wowza! You really did this. You had to know space stuff to do it too. Fabulous! I heard the npr story about Cassini “meeting its fiery end.” Talk about bittersweet. Peace. x

    Liked by 1 person

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