A May 1874 Witnessed Fall: Castalia, North Carolina, USA
Geologic Poetry from Space:
Drink from the fountain of Castilia and
be inspired to write meteorite verse.
|Castalia fell to earth on May 14, 1874. Three pieces were collected totaling about 7.3kg with a majority of the material in one 5.5 kg individual.Being a xenolithic and brecciated H5 chondrite simply means Castalia is beautiful. But more specifically, it means that the mix of broken fragments cemented together (brecciated) contains material not from the original mass (xenolithic).|
But even more specifically, Castalia, in Greek mythology, was, according to Wikipedia: “a nymph whom Apollo transformed into a fountain at Delphi, at the base of Mount Parnassos.
Castalia could inspire the genius of poetry to those who drank her waters or listened to their quiet sound.”
So drink the beautiful waters of Castalia, and enjoy some meteorite poetry.
A Meteorite Speaks
– likely by H. H. Nininger
A hieroglyphic message is written on my face
Recording ancient happenings far in the depths of space.
It tells of my beginnings where fiercest fires held sway,
My leap into ethereal space and how I sped away.
A diary of my wanderings, lonely ‘mongst the stars,
A thousand of such incidents as Jupiter and Mars.
I’ve watched a host of planets grow from out the spatial voids;
Witnessed lunar peltings and played tag with asteroids.
I held my course through solar heat, likewise through frigid space.
I wooed the lovely Pleiades and gave Orion chase.
I know severest loneliness from all celestial forms;
Likewise the social gaiety of cometary swarms.
Freely through ethereal space I loved my course to steer,
But trapped at last fell victim to earth’s dread atmosphere.
In arid wastes I landed, then, smote by desert sand
My skin deep brown was varnished by oxygenic hand.
by C. S. Lewis
Among the hills a meteorite
Lies huge; and moss has overgrown,
And wind and rain with touches light
Made soft, the contours of the stone.
Thus easily can Earth digest
A cinder of sidereal fire,
And make her translunary guest
The native of an English shire.
Nor is it strange these wanderers
Find in her lap their fitting place,
For every particle that’s hers
Came at the first from outer space.
All that is Earth has once been sky;
Down from the sun of old she came,
Or from some star that traveled by
Too close to his entangling flame.
Hence, if belated drops yet fall
From heaven, on these her plastic power
Still works as once it worked on all
The glad rush of the golden shower.
|This wonderful slice of North Carolina history spent time up north in the famous collection of Phil Scalisi.Nothing but good comes from the Scalisi collection, and I view the specimen labels and cards that accompany our precious meteorites through time as simply nouns leading to more verbs and adjectives to work with.|
Page 42 of the document linked to below holds the poem “Meteorite Dealers.”
a brief excerpt:
“Here the meteorite dealers scavenge
and close in on rocks re-warmed by sun,
squatting with fig leaf bandannas.
You can examine one with a magnifying glass:
it looks like a piece of placenta
unearthed in a storm, petrified.”
For me, meteorites are an expression of art as well as science.
It is not unusual in science to struggle over the hard truths of a specimen, but I would argue that it is just as important to challenge our grammar and vocabulary skills in the quest to understand the language of meteorites.
And what better place to start then with the experts. The Poets.
Until next time….
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