Copernicium poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#112, Cn)

It was my love of you
and what you believed in
that made me try to get you.

With your Renaissance ways,
you taught me that I’m not
the center of the Universe,

but I’ve learned since then
to go beyond the sun, because
there is too much out there

to see.

As a scientist, I know you
changed our views of the world.
So science must create you, again.

I know that mathematics
can explain the Universe,
but you were more than a

mathematician, you were
a physician, a translator,
an economist, an astronomer,

an artist.

I know you were a founder
in your time, and the half-life
of what we create may be small…

but I would have to throw
any metal I could into any
isotope I could, like zinc to lead,

just to see if you would
come out for us again. Let us
find you, let us experiment

with you.

Let us accelerate these processes,
cause just the right reactions
to synthesize you and your genius.

I don’t care how we get you,
whether what we do is cold or hot,
when we fuse to create you,

and through all of our work
you may only come to us
after the decay of others

around you.

We’ve learned that only now,
now that we have you, we can
try to work with any part of you,

no matter how unstable
you say you now are. I don’t care.
You’re the last member

transitioning in this series — so now
I can only reflect on your relativity
to planets, like Mercury, as well as

your nobility.

I miss what you’ve done
for how we think in this world.
I miss clear scientific minds.

I only hope that what we’ve done
in your honor does you justice.
Even though we’ve only created you,

I want you to remember
that it is because we wanted
to learn, too, and we wanted you

to guide the way.

Krypton poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

So, riddle me this, Batman…
(Wait a minute. That’s the wrong
superhero reference.
Let me start over again…)

Hi there. I’ve been trying
to wrap my head around this one,
maybe you can help me out.
Now, I don’t know a ton
about superhero mythology,
but Superman — he’s from
the planet Krypton, right?
And from what I’d infer,
Krypton would have a lot
of Kryptonite — Kryptonite
comes from Krypton, right?
So if Superman is from Krypton,
why would Kryptonite
be his weakness?
I mean, that’s like saying
the planet Earth has Oxygen,
but humans have an adverse
reaction to it. I don’t get it.

Okay, okay, i’m sure Kryptonite
is the ore form of a radioactive
element from Superman’s home,
but really, if they’ll name
this bad-for-residents thing
a version of the panet’s name,
it really makes you wonder

And when it comes to this planet,
Krypton is colorless, odorless, tasteless…
and our own air, the stuff we breathe,
even contains fractional amounts of Krypton.
And if on Superman’s home planet
it was the radioactive ore of an element,
I guess it makes sense that here on earth
Krypton is used for fluorescent lamps,
or even in high-powered gas lasers.

But the one thing I thought was cool
was that Krypton is also used
in small photograph flashes,
and in high-speed photography
(you know, for a brilliant white light
source – good for the photo minor
who even had the license place
“J PHOTO 1” for her first car)…

And if I so got into the brilliant
white light Krypton creates in flashes,
I also then thought it was excellent-cool
that the different colors in neon signs
are often all Krypton, too…

So whether or not Krypton
is where Superman came from,
all I can say is that
Krypton has a certain brilliance
right here on earth too.

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…