Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Bird Who Could Fly To Neptune

I’m your only friend

I’m not your only friend
But I’m a little glowing friend
But really I’m not actually your friend

But I am

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

“Birdhouse In Your Soul,” They Might Be Giants

I wish I had a friend who was a bird
who could fly to Neptune and come back here
and tell me what color Neptune looks like
when you can look at it close in real life.

I’ve looked at Neptune through small telescopes
and to my eyes Neptune had a green tint
but many people see Neptune as blue.
When scientists released Neptune pictures
from the fly-bys of the Voyager probes
they colorized Neptune as vivid blue
but that was a careful guess. The space probe
didn’t carry a full-spectrum camera.

I wish I had a friend who was a bird
who could fly to Neptune. I would worry
about her out there. I would worry but
it would be the kind of worry that makes
you smile imagining all the clever
and brave ways she would out-wit and elude
and frustrate trouble whenever trouble
set its sights on somehow causing her grief.

I have two small refractor telescopes
and I’ve used them to look at Mercury
and Venus and Mars, the inner planets,
and the outer gas giants, Jupiter
and Saturn and Uranus and Neptune.

I wish I had a friend who was a bird
who could fly to all those places and, too,
fly to Pluto and come back and tell me
about her adventures flying out there
and tell me what all the planets look like
when you can look at them close in real life.

After my friend told me her adventures
I would play guitar for her, and show her
what I could improvise on my keyboard
and she would indulge me and she would smile
and then she would sing real bird song versions
of what I played on guitar and keyboard.
Then she would improvise a real bird song
while I played chords on guitar or keyboard
and while we did that, while we made music,
even though neither of us could see them,
all the planets, somehow, would be glowing
just a bit brighter, somehow, than they glowed
when we weren’t playing songs together.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Starhopping Through Capricornus To Neptune

Planetary Colors And The Grail Quest

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