Elementary, Watson, my dear (or similar)

I missed the last Dunbar Writers meeting, on account of being away enjoying myself in Assynt (somebody had to do it), but the topic set for tonight’s meeting was an interesting one, and I’ve at last found time to write something new.

We were asked to pick a chemical element from a list, and to write a poem on it, incorporating some of the science behind it. So here’s neon:

The new one

From chilled liquid air
three gases boiled off –
the strange one, the hidden one,
and the new one.

Injected into pumped-out glass tubes
it glows orange-red, and very brightly,
when a current’s passed. Did anyone count
the numbers of Packards sold
thanks to words made of light?

If nobility comes from disdaining attachments,
then call it noble, but it’s a sterile aristocracy
with no family, no descendants,
all shells filled, and no spare hands
to hold.

Colin Will

[the strange one is xenon, and the hidden one is krypton, by the way]

I also did uranium, but that one needs a bit more work.


Incidentally, I’ve done this kind of thing before, back in 2006, on a website called The Periodic Table of Poetry. My poem was on Strontian in Argyll, where the strontium mineral strontianite was found. Here’s the web archive URL

An interesting sidelight is that a later copy of this website on Everypoet.com has my poem on it too, but this time credited to one Kiarra Jackson. That’s the first time I’ve found one of my poems passed off as the work of someone else, and a salutary lesson in the unsafe nature of the web, and the unscrupulous nature of some people using it. What do I do about it?


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
This entry was posted in elements, neon, poems, stealing poems, strontium. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Elementary, Watson, my dear (or similar)

  1. Rachel Fox says:

    I like ‘words made of light’ – very much.

  2. Colin Will says:

    Thanks Rachel

  3. Ackworth Born says:

    You should complain like hell – plagiarists are worse scum than spammers but are usually easier to track down. Complain to the site owner and try googling the name to find other instances.Try also googling a unique line from the poem.

  4. Cailleach says:

    I love those last lines ‘ all shells filled, and no hands / to hold.’Great idea – who says science and art can’t lie together comfortably.

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