The ringed-planet is visible dusk until dawn.
Our home is between, opposite the sun.
Rising in the east at the sunset.
Peaking at midnight, setting west at sunrise.
Distant. Closest and brightest for this year.
Tonight, one bright star to the south.
Nearby, in a celestial ocean of constellations
Cetus the Whale and Pisces the Fish,
Aquarius, the Sea Goat, Delphinus the Dolphin.
Southern fish, Fomalhaut, swimming in Piscis Austrinus.
Everything moving: Earth, solar system, nebulae, moons,
all the children of the cosmic expansion.
Foucault showed, simply, that one single point
could be still. I could be still.
Neither darkness nor light; error nor truth.
This poem takes inspiration (and some words) from Umberto Eco‘s wonderful novel Foucault’s Pendulum and the actual pendulum built by physicist Léon Foucault. His simple device was conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. While it had long been known that the Earth rotates, the introduction of the Foucault pendulum in 1851 was the first simple proof of the rotation in an easy-to-see experiment. Today, Foucault pendulums are popular displays in science museums and universities.
Eco says that the still point can be:
“a pivot, bolt, or hook around which the universe could move. And I was now taking part in that supreme experience. I, too, moved with the all, but I could see the One, the Rock, the Guarantee, the luminous mist that is not body, that has no shape, weight, quantity, or quality, that does not see or hear, that cannot be sensed, that is in no place, in no time, and is not soul, intelligence, imagination, opinion, number, order, or measure.”