A poet can pen a beautiful Ode to a Grecian Urn. I can only write
doggerel aboard my Grecian Urn, the Stella Solaris, the vessel which
gently carried me to what must truly must be the Biggest and The Best
Show on Earth.|
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE 2-26-98
To take it all in requires some tricks
So we worked to prepare for this solar eclipse.
Down in the theater we soaked up some knowledge
From lecturers lucid at Ted's floating college.
With cameras and check lists, we festooned the decks.
The sun was high so we craned our necks.
A fatigue green plane buzzed us twice,
Perhaps from Cuba and not very nice.
"Mercury!" we shouted, "Jupiter and Venus!"
You might have laughed had you just then seen us.
Staring in awe, transfixed by their beauty
For just that moment we forgot our duty
To follow our lists as the partial phase
Relentless and slow had our minds in a haze.
But Krupp counted us down as the excitement grew high.
"Now shed your glasses, the time is nigh!"
White, then red, it's Bailey's Beads
Then on the right, the Prominence bleeds!
We'd been wrapped in soft, enveloping light,
The Diamond Ring then made it bright.
Click your shutters down the scale,
The party is happening and you are pale!
The moon has come in formal gown
With coronal collar like silky down.
He says, "30 seconds!", I'm all aflutter
Turn that dial and crank up that shutter!
Bam! It came and just got bigger
Blinding, then fleeting and gone in a jigger!
That Diamond Ring had lifted me high,
Stopped my breath and now I know why
Time stands still when there is an eclipse.
Not a word escapes from anyone's lips.
|FEBRUARY 26, 1998|
My journey started overcast and gray
Yet hopefully, as southerly I flew
Sojourning from the drab of every day,
Outbound to venture into life anew.
Like mariners of old, I had the skies
Above to show me latitude and time,
Refreshed by ocean breezes' gentle sighs
Exhilarated by the salty clime.
Companionship enriched the wait for me;
Looking through murk we watched the gobbling moon
Ingest the sun, and then--Totality!
Pure light celestial shone, then left too soon.
Stella Solaris, sun-star of the sea,
Enchanted craft, brought heaven's light to me.
--JPD cabin R51
Latitude 12° 38'N
Longitude 69° 2' 53"W
Awake with anticipation
Sea and emotions rise and fall
The grey blue sky twinkles with whipped-cream clouds
The air is charged with energy exploding and repressed
Predictions constantly modified to meet reality.
Questions and answers
11 foot swells and unexpected squalls
Run, run cover your cameras
Diamond rings, eye patches and pin holes.
2 minutes, 40 seconds!
Powerful forces command spirits
Specks upon the earth
Humanity retreats, powerless.
Moon & sun
Tranquil in their shared space
Soon to compete
For dominance in space.
The wind trounces papers,
The sun burns. Man and three-legged companions seek anchorage.
They stood and watched and awed and clicked--
Sun shades, eye shades, black patches and eclipse shades--
Recording in sould, spririt and film
Ancient and modern mystical, magical and factual.
Anxiously resetting cameras, checking watches.
Halo and prominences, gift of diamond rings
exploded in the sky.
Retreating to my cabin,
Hot and perspiring,
Wordless and numb,
Reliving the peak experience.
--Dr. Patricia Botkin
Words to Habañera for Patrick Moore
on his 75th Birthday, 3/4/98
(apologies to Bizet) --Greta Birkby
Who's the gent in the dark staid suit
With monocle and deportment
Holding court in the midday sun
On stars and moon to everyone?
It's Patrick Moore, yes Patrick Moore
The paragon of astronomy
It's Patrick Moore--Oh, Patrick Moore
The great star commentator for the BBC--
Our Patrick Moore--yes Patrick Moore
He'll tickle you pink with his wit and flair
Dear Patrick Moore--oui Patrick Moore
Musician, astronomer extraordinaire!
Who's the man at the xylophone
Who plays such hits as "Penguin's Parade?"
And warms us up with bright bons mots
On titillating ocelots?
If you've met this brilliant man
You really know its no Kaballah
Better be first on the main program
Because his act is hard to follah![sic]