Monday, 13 September 2010

Asteroid Apophis

for Seamus Heaney's 90th birthday

Asteroid Apophis is heading towards Earth. It may or may not cause worldwide prayers and panic in the weeks leading up to 13th April 2029 - that remains to be seen. I have seen various odds against a direct hit on our planet ranging from 30/1 to 60/1 and have also read theories that Apophis will pass safely between Earth and Moon (as in this Wiki-photo where the white line is the official margin of error).

I remember how we all watched the TV news for pictures every night fascinated and safely terrified when a comet, Shoemaker-Levy I think, plunged piece by piece, like a broken string of firey beads, into the gas giant Jupiter some years ago.

I also remember drawing a sweepstake ticket for a horse called Foinavon when it won the Grand National, against all predictions, at odds of 100/1.

Asteroid Apophis*

Blake's God measures the future
with hair blowing in torn sail
ragged in the east wind's gale
with golden dividers fixed at 90°
- the span of his left hand

Circumscribes the universe
with exactness and precision
then leaves Apophis on the way
- neglects to clear the builder's debris
and rests upon the seventh day
an evil snakelike demon


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