A favorite poem – what do you think it means?

The Man with the Hoe by Edwin Markham Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground, The emptiness of ages in his face, And on his back the burden of the world. Who made him dead to rapture and despair, A thing that grieves not and that never hopes. Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox? Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw? Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow? Whose breath blew out the light within this brain? Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave To have dominion over sea and land; To trace the stars and search the heavens for power; To feel the passion of Eternity? Is this the Dream He dreamed who shaped the suns And marked their ways upon the ancient deep? Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf There is no shape more terrible than this More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed More filled with signs and portents for the soul More fraught with menace to the universe. What gulfs … [Read more...]

An end of August poem

Van Gogh's Starry Night Star Fishing Today I want to tell you about variable stars. They intrigue me because they change. They change in brightness. Some repeat cycles with almost clocklike precision others change irregularly. Some require only hours or days to return to their starting brightness. Others require years to change. Yet, whether they change imperceptibly or violently all variable stars change. The most spectacular variable is the Nova. It can get up to 200,000 times brighter than the Sun. But, alas, it is temporary. It periodically blows off a tiny percent of the Sun's mass at speeds up to 600 miles a second until it loses too much mass to continue. Whereas Supernovas brighten up to 10 billion times the Sun's brightness for a few days and then fade away forever. One more thing. Variable stars change their brightness by pulsating ever expanding and contracting like a balloon, They repeat their brightness cycles from one day to hundreds of … [Read more...]