Neodymium, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem from Chicago poet Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#060, Nd)

I am drawn to you, / you pull on me so,
when I think of how / you’re so magnetic.

With your electric charge, / my motor’s going,
you get me charged up / thinking it’s a game…

You use my favorite gems, / Garnet and crystals,
and you make every point / seem laser clear.

You’re focus must be why / I’m so drawn to you
I must come to you / until you’re near.

And now you know how / I love my glassware,
so I was sent to / a glass blowing lathe,

and the glass blowers / were making glassware
with you on their eyes / so they could see.

They loaned me their specs, / I put them on —
and through the green-grey specs / the flame was gone.

I did a double-take — / there was no glare —
leaving me to see / just molten glass.

‘Cause on those glasses, / you weren’t alone —
you worked in pairs there / so we could see.

‘Cause to the Greeks / you are a new twin,
that’s where together’s / how you fit in…


And all of this time / I was drawn to you
but now you’ve proven / you can help me see.

Holmium, poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry”” series (#67, Ho)

Got a set of poetry word magnets
(so you could arrange words on your fridge
to write a message, or write a poem),
and even though I remembered
that magnets have two sides with two poles,
I still took one of the magnets
(I think the word on this magnet was “stick”)
and turned it around, to see
how it wouldn’t stick to the fridge.

Now, Holmium has the highest
magnetic strength of any element,
so I thought about this magnet’s poles —
but I didn’t know that scientists
have been using Holmium
to try to discover the widely theorized
and avidly debated “magnetic monopole”
(a magnet that only has one pole).
Grand unified and superstring theories
predict their existence, and these
magnetic monopoles could explain a ton
about space, time, and the laws of physics.
But the theory is that there’s so little of it,
and nobody’s been able to even find it,
so they’ll keep using this magnetic Holmium
to try to find this hypothetical particle…

And it’s strange, when it comes to Holmium,
I mean, it’s used to color cubic zirconia…
And when it comes to that magnetism,
Holmium can even absorb nuclear neutrons.
But the cool thing is that Holmium
is used for dental and medical purposes,
and it’s even used with solid state lasers
to remove some early stage cancers
with only a local anesthetic.

Wow, that
and it can help scientists
understand more about the universe
(even if it’s only on a quantum level).

I guess there was a reason why
I was so drawn to these qualities….

Touching Cobalt, Periodic Table poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Touching Cobalt

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#027)

We toasted our anniversary
with Cobalt blue champagne glasses
after we looked over the Cobalt
and tungsten wedding bands.

Seems fitting,
since I am so attracted to you,
that we’re drawn to Cobalt,
one of the most magnetic elements.

I heard a physicist explain
that when two solid objects
are pressed together
they never actually touch.

Now, I can’t imagine it,
but maybe,
because electrons repel
all objects remain one molecule apart.

That must be why,
when we embrace
I want to hold you
tighter and tighter —

because I want to defy
the laws of physics
and feel that contact with you
as long as I possibly can.

Because right now
I don’t care about electrons,
keeping us one molecule apart.

When it comes to Cobalt,
it’s 27 protons and 32 neutrons
are would tightly together
with a strong nuclear force…
Its nucleus’ binding energy
is so strong,
that it only breaks apart
once it is broken down
into its isotopes.

It won’t break apart
in it’s pure form.

Kind of like us,
I suppose,
how we seem to be
so bound by physics.

Physicists say
that solid objects
can never actually touch.
And I’m sorry,
but when it comes to us,
that just can’t be.
Because I want to experience you
with all of my senses.
I want our molecules to intermingle.
I want us to actually touch.

Chromium poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

Closing the door
to my stainless steel refrigerator,
I thought about the popularity
of stainless steel;
everyone wants to get
stainless steel fronts
for all of their kitchen appliances.
Costs more at the store,
but that’s the price for looking good.

So I thought, stainless steel,
okay, what is that, iron?
But my wrought iron bed frame
and sets of candle holders
are pretty much black,
some of it’s rusting,
so what do they do
to make this iron a shiny,
different kind of metal?

I looked online
and the answer
was 24.
Not 42, not the meaning of life,
but the atomic number.

You know, when I turned 24 at work,
our rep from our press called me,
and I told him it was my birthday.
So he asked me how old I was,
and I said 42.
He sounded surprised, so I told him,
“Oh, you didn’t ask me
how old I felt.
I’m 24.”

But really, chromium
is atomic element number 24,
and to make stainless steel
they add over ten percent
of chromium to the iron to form
a steel alloy that doesn’t corrode.
(Good thing
my refrigerator
won’t rust…)

So maybe it’s the
magnetic properties of chromium
that make this metal so appealing
to people now…
But this protective element
has protected weaponry
from Chinese dynasties
thousands of years ago,
so the Chinese knew,
even then,
that coating things with
this magnetic metallic element
would stop corrosion.

I mean, we’ve all heard
of things that are
chrome plated, right?
Chromium not only makes things
last longer, but
chromium is also known for
its luster when polished —
which really makes
for a great sell.
Just go to any hangout
for motorcyclists,
probably on any summer
Sunday morning,
and see the parked line-up
of one motorcycle after another,
each outdoing each other
with decorative chrome plating…

But then I thought…
Chromium’s even used
as chrome yellow dye
for school buses…
Chromium salts are used
for wood preservatives
and tanning leather…
The refractory applications
of chromium even work
for blast furnaces, cement kilns,
molds for the firing of bricks
and also for the casting of metals.

I guess chromium can really
extend the life
of what we see around us…
So I guess it’s fitting
that when my birthday
coincided with this element,
I jokingly said
that the number in question
was actually the answer
to life, the universe,
and everything…