(previously posted but now with annotations, links and such. being a bit nerdy today… sometimes more goes into a poem than I care to think about… sometimes…)
dear Miranda, (*1)
but just a glimpse
a fading pass (*2)
for you hide and dance
forever show the same face (*3)
within a tempest born (*4)
the scars of stars upon your form
all about craters worn
from drunken horde, magicians wand (*5)
father Prospero’s hand, Stephano’s yard
Trinculo’s joke read out on your garb
your scarps take breath
in all the moons of this
solar system our bed
your light touch would save (*6)
twelve minute fall
and might I discover
in which your lines are read,
may we see you again (*7)
not just a glimpse
but a visit then.
- I chose Miranda for a number of reasons. One is that the previous four discovered moons of Uranus were named after fairies. Miranda was the first to be named after a human (well, a character in a Shakespeare play). Besides that designation the topography of Miranda has baffled scientists with it’s seemingly unique (at least here in our Solar System) nature and formations.
- Miranda was discovered by Gerard Kuiper in 1948, it was the last moon discovered in the Uranian system until Voyager 2 passed on by in 1986 (after being launched in 1973).
- Like our moon, Miranda has Tidal Locking, meaning the same side (or face) always faces the planet it orbits.
- Obvious reference to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest from which Miranda was granted it’s name. I was thinking of a loose association of how the planets and moon formed. There was a cosmic tempest of sorts and then the celestial bodies fell into place like their own little islands (and life on them, well, at least Earth).
- More references to The Tempest characters, read more here.
- The gravity on Miranda is a fraction of ours here on Earth, so even a fall from Verona Rupes (the tallest cliff known in our Solar System) would take quite some time (twelve minutes is kind of an arbitrary number I picked that could be reasonably accurate).
- A reference again to Voyager 2 passing by but also that NASA has hinted at revisiting Uranus in the 2020s (you know, this new decade).