Archive for Haiku

Cosmological Tanka

Posted in Poetry, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on January 14, 2014 by telescoper

Most readers of this blog will be familiar with the form of Japanese poetry known as Haiku. I’ve even had a go at producing some cosmological Haiku myself. I suspect rather fewer will have come across another form known as Tanka. Being 31 syllables long rather than the 17 of Haiku, these are not quite as short but still quite a challenge to write.  They comprise 5 lines with a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern of syllables. I’m told by Japanese friends that Tanka are specifically written to celebrate a special event or to capture the mood of a particular moment. Here is an exquisite example by a famous poet called Otomo No Yakamochi:

From outside my house,
only the faint distant sound
of gentle breezes
wandering through bamboo leaves
in the long evening silence.

I’ve had a go at composing a couple of Tanka to do with specific moments in cosmology. Here’s one about the epoch of recombination:

An electron finds
a proton and marries it;
they make hydrogen.
Simultaneous weddings
free light across the cosmos.

I was talking to some students about the spherical collapse model so here’s a Tanka for that:

I was more dense than
my surroundings, expanded
more slowly, then stopped.
Now I must start to collapse;
soon I shall virialize.

Further attempts welcome through the comments box!

More Cosmological Haiku

Posted in Poetry, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on August 18, 2011 by telescoper

In view of my current rather hectic schedule – why else would I be up at this ungodly hour? – I thought I’d combine another bit of recycling with some audience participation. I’ve updated below the list of Haiku I posted some time ago with some new ones I’ve jotted down at random intervals over the intervening months.

How about a few Haiku of your own on themes connected to astronomy, cosmology or physics?

Don’t be worried about making the style of your contributions too authentic, just make sure they are 17 syllables in total, and split into three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively.

Here are some of my own to get you started:

Quantum Gravity:
The troublesome double-act
Of Little and Large

Gravity’s waves are
Traceless; which does not mean they
Can never be found

The Big Bang wasn’t
So big, at least not when you
Think in decibels.

Cosmological
Constant and Dark Energy
Are vacuous names

Microwave Background
Photons remember a time
When they were hotter

Isotropic and
Homogeneous metric?
Robertson-Walker

Galaxies evolve
In a complicated way
We don’t understand

Acceleration:
Type Ia Supernovae
Gave us the first clue

Cosmic Inflation
Could have stretched the Universe
And made it flatter

Astrophysicist
Is what I’m told is my Job
Title. Whatever.

“Clusters look cool,”  said
Sunyaev and Zel’dovich,
“because they are hot”.

Gaussianity
is produced by inflation,
normally speaking.

Gravity waves are
a kind of perturbation;
they make you tensor

Bubble collisions
Leave marks in the C-M-B
To please A. Linde

This Haiku contains
“Baryon Oscillations”
in its middle line.

What should we build next:
S-K-A or E-L-T?
Or maybe neither…?

J W* S T,
(the James Webb Space Telescope);
long name, big budget

* “W” has to be pronounced “dubya” for this one to work!

Contributions welcome via the comments box. The best one gets a chance to win Bully’s star prize.

Cosmic Haiku

Posted in Poetry, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on September 6, 2009 by telescoper

I haven’t had much time to post today and will probably be too busy next week for anything too substantial, so I thought I’d resort to a bit of audience participation. How about a few Haiku on themes connected to astronomy, cosmology or physics?

Don’t be worried about making the style of your contributions too authentic, just make sure they are 17 syllables in total, and split into three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively.

Here’s a few of my own to give you an idea!

Quantum Gravity:
The troublesome double-act
Of Little and Large

Gravity’s waves are
Traceless; which does not mean they
Can never be found

The Big Bang wasn’t
So big, at least not when you
Think in decibels.

Cosmological
Constant and Dark Energy
Are vacuous names

Microwave Background
Photons remember a time
When they were hotter

Isotropic and
Homogeneous metric?
Robertson-Walker

Galaxies evolve
In a complicated way
We don’t understand

Acceleration:
Type Ia Supernovae
Gave us the first clue

Cosmic Inflation
Could have stretched the Universe
And made it flatter

Astrophysicist
Is what I’m told is my Job
Title. Whatever.

Contributions welcome via the comments box. The best one gets a chance to win Bully’s star prize.