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Roy Gray is a writer and scientist who lives in Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK. The visual version of this poem was published in Physics World (the journal of the Institute of Physics) in October 1995.

Dark Planet is designed and edited by Lucy A. Snyder. If you spot any errors, or if you have any comments, please contact her at lusnyde@cyberus.ca.

All materials copyright 1996-1998 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).

Towards Darwin

by Roy Gray

    Solitary H,
    far from Van der Vaals,
    atomic Hydrogen smattered through space.
    Only gravity calls.

    Aeons pass, and more.

    Singlet states become pairs
    smug, cool, molecules.
    The super womb of Hydrogen stirs;
    long, mazy swirls.

    Aeons pass, and more.

    Gravity strikes
    millimetres per millennium, or less.
    Invisibly warping space/time
    for those on the shoulders of Einstein.

    Aeons pass, and more.

    Matter, mass, Hydrogen
    crowing to the universe
    from all these gravid nebulae
    at 1.4 billion hertz.

    Aeons pass, in a flash.

    Distant goldmines, distant times,
    neutrinos trail the story.
    Set telescopes to trawl the skys
    capturing a final fury.
    Revealing to our wondering eyes
    that Maxwell's war with Newton's law
    let gravity play the aces.
    A sudden collapse at iron core
    rends the curtain open for;
    the hurricane of neutrons, the tidal wave of light.
    Mendeleyev's children,
    supernova ejaculate.

    Seconds pass, slowly.

    Shockwaves expand,
    kilometres per millisecond, and more.
    Then condensations abound
    where, one day, stars will found.

    Ions mass, and charge.

    Turbulence and motion
    plough the cloud of gas
    following the shockfronts
    sowing seeds of mass.

    Aeons parse.

    Alphabet stew gestates,
    elements in the mix.
    Under gravity's gentle teasing
    inchoate masses bloom as discs.

    More millennia pass

    These are matter's domain,
    where hearts contract out
    coalescing under Newton's reign.
    To slow their pirouette
    they shed angular momentum
    as encircling torii.
    While deep within
    Hydrogen fuses to Helium
    and begins the long fight to confine
    Maxwell's self raising power.
    Secrets under swathes of plasma
    until Burbidges, Hoyle and Fowler.


    Spin is the refugee
    camping in the petals
    where planets are conceived.
    At Bodian intervals?


    Early embers, first dawn.
    Red are the new infant's cries.
    The warming glow that signifies
    a sun is born.