History Lesson

Jonathan Taylor, a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at De Montfort University in the UK, wrote a poem about the cosmic 'ghost' lurking around a distant supermassive black hole. His poem also appears in the literary magazine Acumen, issue 67, http://www.acumen-poetry.co.uk/. Jonathan is not only a poet, but a memoirist and novelist.

HDF 130

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has found a cosmic ‘ghost’ lurking around a distant supermassive black hole ....
                            (Chandra X-Ray Observatory, 28 May 2009)

Telescoped, the universe is a vast memory,
an over-long school-lesson in cosmic history,
background radiation droning on and on
from 300,000 years after the big bang,
remembering anything big enough (not us);

black-holes are hangover-haunted by X-ray fuzz,
groaning about binges on long-ago nights,
which climaxed in billions of star-bursts of vomit,
heaving energy across light-years of galaxy,
as if these mouths had consumed something too spicy;

supernovae remember how they first happened,
old men reminiscing in star-remnants’ patterns
about halcyon days, when they were suns too,
until thermonuclear dementia tore through
their molten synapses

                         – and we know that,
when any-sun forgets so much is lost, past,
local light-years of knowledge, years in the million,
till nothing is left except a history of billions.

                            Jonathan Taylor

Read another Chandra-inspired poem by Jonathan Taylor: Black Hole in B-Flat

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