Towards Darwin

by Roy Gray

Solitary H,
far from Van der Vaals,
atomic Hydrogen smattered through space.
Only gravity calls.

Aeons pass, and more.

Singlet states become pairs
smug, cool, molecules.
The super womb of Hydrogen stirs;
long, mazy swirls.

Aeons pass, and more.

Gravity strikes
millimetres per millennium, or less.
Invisibly warping space/time
for those on the shoulders of Einstein.

Aeons pass, and more.

Matter, mass, Hydrogen
crowing to the universe
from all these gravid nebulae
at 1.4 billion hertz.

Aeons pass, in a flash.

Distant goldmines, deep time,
neutrinos trail the story.
Set telescopes to trawl the skies
capturing a final fury.
Revealing to our wondering eyes
that Maxwell's war with Newton's law
let gravity play the aces.
A sudden collapse at iron core
rends the curtain open for;
the hurricane of neutrons, the tidal wave of light.
Mendeleyev's children,
supernova ejaculate.

Seconds pass, slowly.

Shockwaves expand,
kilometres per millisecond, and more.
Then condensations abound
where, one day, stars will found.

Ions mass, and charge.

Turbulence and motion
plough the cloud of gas
following the shockfronts
sowing seeds of mass.

Aeons parse.

Alphabet stew gestates,
elements in the mix.
Under gravity's gentle teasing
inchoate masses bloom as discs.

More millennia pass

These are matter's domain,
where hearts contract out
coalescing under Newton's reign.
To slow their pirouette
they shed angular momentum
as encircling torii.
While deep within
Hydrogen fuses to Helium
and begins the long fight to confine
Maxwell's self raising power.
Secrets under swathes of plasma
until Burbidges, Hoyle and Fowler.


Spin is the refugee
camping in dusty petals
where planets are conceived.
At Bodian intervals?


Early embers, first dawn.
Red are the new infant's cries.
The warming glow that signifies
a sun is born.

First published in Physics World
Copyright © 1995, Roy Gray

Supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Supernova 1987A
in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Roy Gray's fiction has been published in Interzone, the small press, and webzines. His articles and humor pieces have been published in trade and the non-literary press, and his theatre reviews have appeared in Interzone. He has a degree in physics and has worked for a major pharmaceutical company in one of their product development laboratories. In 2001 he accepted an offer of early retirement in the hope that writing would become a new career. He won Science in Print (Physics in Print) prizes in 1994 and 1995. In 2003 he won a UK Public Awareness of Science (PAWS) grant to write a TV script with a science background. He currently lives in Macclesfield, a town on the eastern margins of Cheshire, England, close to the Peak National Park.

"Towards Darwin" was originally published in illustrated text format in the October '95 Physics World, the members' journal of the UK Institute of Physics. In 1998 it was reprinted on the web and subsequently selected for the The 1999 Rhysling Anthology, edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel.

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