Planets go around a star.
Their treks are journeys near and far
The paths are often neatly wound
on loops elliptical instead of round.
What makes these orbits not quite round?
The pull of gravity, it was found,
battles against an object’s need
to cruise through space at constant speed.
So, a planet’s path is a tightrope dance—
a deliberate trip, not happenstance.
Round and round, they go around…
But now we know, they’re not quite round
© 2007 Carolyn Collins Petersen
This poem about the orbits of planets was inspired by a talk I heard yesterday at Science and Society about how poetry can be inspired by science. The poet, Catherine Hughes, grew up in a family of scientists and found that much of her poetry was infused with themes about science. She made the case that writing about science in poetry can be an interesting, and perhaps even fulfilling, exercise.
So, I decided to give it a try. It’s kind of fun to take a scientific idea and work it into poetry. It doesn’t have to be perfect poetry”that’s not the point. Give it a try.