Protactinium, poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series, (#91, Pa) from the Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Protactinium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#91, Pa)
7/1/14

Wanted to talk about P A,
element ninety one,
but gotta keep this brief,
because the first people
who discovered an isotope
of element ninety one
found it had had an
insanely short half life,
so they wanted
to name it “brevium”.

Than again,
after a German scientist
found another isotope
with a much longer
half life,
they figured that maybe
they’d try “protoactinium”,
because this element
is the progenitor of element 89,
Actinium, because
when element ninety one decays
and loses and alpha particle,
Actinium (element 89) is created.

But proto-actinium?
That still sounds
a little long,
maybe we can remember
that brevity
of the one isotope’s
short half life
and call it
Protactinium
instead.

But really,
this stuff’s radioactive
and highly toxic,
and no one has found
a single use for this element
besides maybe scientific research.
But right now they’ve discovered
when measuring the ratios
of Protactinium and Thorium isotopes
in ocean sediments, they can
reconstruct the movements
of bodies of North Atlantic water
during the melting of the last ice age.

Kind of cool.
But an ice age can take
millions of years.
Hardly brief,
like the first isotope
discovered of Protactinium.

But who knows,
maybe if Protactinium
is only good to us humans
for scientific research,
maybe we will
start to learn some cool stuff
about Earth’s past —
and maybe Earth’s future —
thanks to a brief little element
we otherwise have no use for…

Posted in Janet Kuypers, Janet Kuypers Poems, Periodic Table of the Elements Poems, Poetry Performance, Poetry Posts, Poetry Reading, Poetry Recitals, Poetry videos Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Connecting to Infinity Poem by Marilyn McIntyre

connecting to infinity….

possibilities, outcomes
floating weightlessly
irridescent, intangible
mapped in stars
touching down
as pixie dust
and flirts of angel hair
choices to the right
paths to the left
someone has stolen the fork
in the road
moon cast wrinkles
characters “˜cross the lawn
where oh where
has my little mind gone
garrulous cotton candy clouds
griping frenzy
whisps of knowledge
ancestral crones
weeping, moaning heart in tears
annoint myself in
dandelion down
roll my head
in passing nimbus
connecting to infinity
again and again and again and again……..

connecting to infinity….

possibilities, outcomes
floating weightlessly
irridescent, intangible
mapped in stars
touching down
as pixie dust
and flirts of angel hair
choices to the right
paths to the left
someone has stolen the fork
in the road
moon cast wrinkles
characters “˜cross the lawn
where oh where
has my little mind gone
garrulous cotton candy clouds
griping frenzy
whisps of knowledge
ancestral crones
weeping, moaning heart in tears
annoint myself in
dandelion down
roll my head
in passing nimbus
connecting to infinity
again and again and again and again……..

Posted on January 6, 2005

Posted in art music poetry, Guest Poets, Marylyn McIntyre, Poetry Posts

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