Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Enceladus by David Loffman

This is the poem I read at The Troubadour last night.Two things to note. Enceladus is one of Saturn's moons. In 2005 the Cassini probe discovered cryovolcanoes - volcanoes that erupt ice. This ice forms a ring around Saturn known as the e ring.The second point to note is the Roman myth of the God Saturn for whom it was prophesised that one of his children would kill him take his place. As a result Saturn devoured his children when they were born. Goya's painting of Saturn Devouring His Son seems to depict the horror of this act pretty well.

In Saturn’s hinterland
among the trapped
rubble of moons and rings
are the discarded bones
of all Saturn’s murdered children.

Cryovolcanic moon Enceladus
scatters a ribbon of ice
a littered disc of frozen tears.

Drawn from water
under the moon’s crust
stretched by the pull of the planet
the tidal currents of its oceanic mantle.

Water crushed by tectonic plates
and venting from chambers
of the moon's interior
as plumes of ice

that rises and forms
a thick torc of ice
ringing the gas colossus.
Renewed with every orbit
thickening to a blinding white smog.

A bright bead of light
circling Enceladus
drags its shackle of cryomagma
weeping a trail of grief
for all Saturn’s victims.