Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Alphabet for the Scientific Age

From “The Pilot” of May 1964 comes this piece from Catherine Giles, some parts dated, some surprisingly still with us :

Alphabet for the Scientific Age
A is for Atom, which clever men split
For towns to be blasted-or heated, or lit.

B is for Bathoscape, used to observe
The flora and fauna of Neptune's preserve.

C is for Count-down, a term which implies
That someone is shortly to leave for the skies.

D's the Deterrent we keep just in case
Some fool should attempt to blow up the whole race.

E is for Ether, which brings the vibrations
From far-away rockets and radio stations.

F is for Fall-out, the blight which descends
Whenever a nuclear test series ends.

G is for Gravity, always the foe
Of would-be explorers in Space, as they go.

H is for Hovercraft, skimming to port
Without any visible means of support.

I is for Isobars, frequently seen
Adorning the weather charts shown on our screen.

J is for Jet plane, which leaves a white trail,
And deafens us all with its ear-splitting wail.

K is for Khrushchev, whose ultimate dream
Is a Communist World, with his country supreme.

L is for Light-years, a way to denote
The distance of stars which are wildly remote.

M is for Moon, that sweet symbol of change
Long cried for in vain, but at last within range.

N is for Nebulae, rushing through Space
At what seems to us an incredible pace.

O is for Orbit, a satellite’s course,
Maintained and controlled by centrifugal force.

P is for Pill, which we cannot but mention,
Though many still find it a bone of contention.

Q is the question which bothers me still
With so many space-trips- well, who pays the bill?

R is for Radar, the method employed
For tracking strange bodies which roams through the void.

S is for Space-ship, the schoolboy's delight,
Which hurtles to Saturn and back over night.

T is for Telescope, scanning the stars
For objects like visiting saucers from Mars.

U is for Universe: who comprehends
It's purpose, its age and the place where it ends?

V is for Venus, first stop to the Sun.
Some folk may attempt it, but I won't, for one!

W stands for the Weightless condition
Of men on a long interplanetary mission.

X is the quantity always unknown-
The truth that men seek, their philosopher's stone.

Y is for Yuri, the popular ace,
The very first man to be shot into Space.

Z is for Zodiac, sadly outmoded,
Like much that this nuclear age has exploded.

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