Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars through Poetry

Five pounds of sunlight

The weight of sunlight striking the Earth every second
is two kilograms.

About five pounds.

The weight of a kitten,
six months old, still frisky
still chasing his tail,
and everything else, real and imaginary.

Five pounds of sunlight
races to Earth,
crossing ninety-five million miles in eight minutes,
scattering off clouds,
                        absorbed by desert soils and rainforest jungles
                                    reflecting from arctic ice
                                                refracting into myriad rainbows.
The kitten
races across the house
                        scattering books and papers,
                                    chasing myriad imaginary rainbows
crossing the width of
                        my office,
                                    the living room
                                                the kitchen,
in just under one second.
During which time another five pounds of sunlight collides into the Earth

Some of that five pounds of sunlight reflects back into space.
The kitten bounces off the kitchen cabinets, reflecting back into my office
                        scattering books and papers

But three or four pounds of sunlight stays, warming the Earth.
The kitten, temporarily stationary, naps in the sunlight.

I cup the kitten in one hand
and imagine that I am holding all the sunlight striking the Earth.

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Dr. Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist, a science fiction writer, and a poet. As a SF writer, he has won the Hugo and Nebula awards for short fiction, and is the author of one novel, Mars Crossing, and a collection of short stories, Impact Parameter (and Other Quantum Realities). As a poet, he has won the Rhysling and Dwarf Stars awards, and is the author of one collection of poems, Iron Angels. As a scientist, he works at NASA John Glenn Research Center on projects as varied as developing technology for Venus exploration, advanced power systems for spacecraft, telerobotic exploration of the planets, and interstellar travel, and is a member of the Mars Exploration Rovers science team. He was recently named the recipient of the 2014 Robert A. Heinlein Award "bestowed for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space."

He lives in Berea, Ohio, with his wife, writer Mary A. Turzillo, and two cats. More information can be found at his web page,