2015 Honorable Mention – Carlina Duan
I wrote this poem after taking a Physics of Music class at the University. We were speaking about the moon that day — specifically, about the moon’s effect on creating tides in the water. My professor mentioned this phenomena in passing, and, while I’d previously learned about the effect of the moon on ocean tides, I found myself being absolutely struck by the ways in which science serves as such an inspiration for poetry. In this case, I was specifically fascinated by how the gravitational pull of the moon can create tides in our oceans. This relationship between distance sparked the premise of the poem. This poem was my personal response to such a scientific phenomenon, and, more particularly, to the distance that I feel as a human subject when standing beneath the moon. I was curious about the ways in which humans respond to science — what science can explain, and also, what it does not explain by law (i.e. “I want to touch the moon on its limp face—/ physics won’t let me”). Moreover, I wanted to capture the mysterious — even stunning — scientific relationship with what has long been viewed as a “poetic body”: the moon. I was fascinated by the way science acts as such a full and vast field for poetry, and for the self. So often, people think of the poetic as inaccessible, emotional, or vulnerable. However, in this poem, I attempted to speak about the awe that human subjects have in relation to the massive bodily components of science.