Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Today is NOT April Fools' Day!------Today is the start of National Poetry Month

Is that analogous to saying "Everything I say is a lie?" I bet you're glad we have that taken care of. It's more like poetry and far from an April Fool's joke to realize that we live on what we now know is our only Blue Marble. Do you know the story of that phrase?
On December 7, 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 changed the way we look at our home planet. This photograph illustrates the Earth as an isolated ecosystem, floating in space.
(Astronaut photograph AS17-148-22727
courtesy NASA Johnson Space Center Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth)

Look at that photograph and think about what's changed in the 40+ years since the photograph was taken. Then think back further to when Copernicus (19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) and Galileo (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) lived and got in trouble for proposing that the earth was not the center of the universe or even the solar system. Consider how far we've come and how much has changed in the past 500 years. (By the way, does thinking that Copernicus lived 500+ years ago give you an idea of how long a PolyMet mine might have to treat waste water. Really?)

I obviously like the idea of using the Blue Marble image as an introduction to our exploration this month of blue names. After all, our Blue Marble has blue skies, here in Minnesota we have sky-blue water and don't forget Babe, the blue ox. Once in awhile, we have a blue moon or blue snow. None of those tell us much about the hue of blue we should be imagining. Here's some choices from the first three blue hues in our name list:


Now, let's pick up on National Poetry Month, brought to us by the Academy of American Poets [full disclosure: I've been a member for several years]. They also produce Poem-a-Day. Today's is by someone with Minnesota connections and mentions "ice and smoke" and "police". Do any of those make you think of a blue hue?

Honestly,

John Ashbery, 1927 

we could send you out there
to join the cackle squad,
but hey, that highly accomplished,
thinly regarded equestrian—well there was no way
he was going to join the others’ field trip.
Wouldn’t put his head on the table.
But here’s the thing:

They had owned great dread,
knew of a way to get away from here
through ice and smoke
always clutching her fingers, like it says
to do.

Once we were passionate about the police,
yawned in the teeth of pixels,
but a far rumor blanked us out.
We bathed in moonshine.
Now, experts disagree.
Were we unhappy or sublime?
We’ll have to wait until the next time
an angel comes rapping at the door
to rejoice docently.

(I know there’s a way to do this.)


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