Sonnet XXXVI

Mystery of the Lights of Mankind

Sonnet XXXVI

Halogen splendidly shines. Tungsten floods.
Illuminated motorways span
the distinctive desert landscape. Light buds
are a bright incandescent urban plan.
Congruent energies are constrained
to white lines. Regions delineated
by mercury-vapors can be contained
in a contrasting field. Initiated,
baffling magic underscores mankind’s offspring.
They grew wings to fly and live between light
and dark. They see spider web lamps flick’ring
when sparkling crystals twinkle through the night.
Astronauts see cities like a portrait
as they sojourn through levels of orbit.


Posted on:

OpenLinkNight ~ week 36

This comes from

It’s a picture by @Astro_Wheels AKA Douglas H. Wheelock taken on May 29, 2011 from the International Space Station.

It was hard to write. What to write about for such a cool but strange picture? I had to research types of lighting to get some great terms to add in (halogen, mercury-vapor, incandescent.)

About zongrik

For those of you who do not know the handle "zongrik," that would be Bat-Ami Gordin. Most people call me "Tammy." Bat-Ami means "daughter of my nation" in Hebrew. It's a heavy name to carry around. I answer to either name. I also answer to "mama." Some Basic Things about me: Animal lover, mom, poet/writer, dramatic soprano, photographer, teacher/tutor, CERT/Technician and, oh yeah, aerospace engineer. I consider myself "The Astro-Poet." To learn more about the origins of the word "zongrik" see whats-a-zongrik?

Posted on June 28, 2011, in Poetry, Sonnets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Wonderful words to a wonderful image. The night shots from orbit always fascinate me.

  2. yet another Nat Geo Science poem, love it x

  3. Mysteries of mankind’s light
    Portrayed wonderfully in words so bright.
    Enjoyed reading it 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Definitely the best you’ve written ~ really enjoyed it ~ thank you ~ Poetryman

  5. its beautiful…love it!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Word images… and the last two lines are awesome for me. Thank you very much.
    ☮ Siggi in Downeast Maine, USA

  7. how cool would it be to see the world from space…that spider web of life…nice write…

  8. I admire your ability to weave sonnets out of any celestial happening. Thank you for sharing this. You captured the photo!

  9. Nice use of the sonnet form and the link of above with below 🙂 I enjoyed the juxtaposition of traffic with celestial lights

  10. I’m not very good at writing about science, but this is beautiful. My favorite line is “They grew wings to fly and live between light / and dark” I especially like the purposeful break between light and dark here.

  11. Thank you for flying us through the cosmos to view that “portrait” that astronauts see. Not easy to transport myself back to Earth after that thrilling sonnet trip!

  12. The beauty for me is two-fold – the actual picture, and the picture YOU painted, which is not always an easy task, yet one you seamlessly entwined the two. Wonderful! Thank you 🙂

  13. very good writing and makes me read it a few times not to mention the pic really” twichin”

  14. I stumbled across a whole series of photographs taken of the last shuttle visit with the space station. I lost count how many photographs there were but, they showed the astronauts working outside and shots of the earth behind them and shots of the space station and such, fascinating, really clear pictures.
    Lovely sonnet.

  15. Astronauts see cities like a portrait
    as they sojourn through levels of orbit…oh how cool would it be to see the earth from outside…but we can as well do this mental step that web and growing wings to fly and live between light and dark…

  16. Lovely work. You really did a great job painting with words–and the sonnet goes well with the picture–really nicely done!

  17. This reminds me of the photos shot from space of the earth at night, where the north american, chinese, indian and european areas are blazing, and the rest of the continents are sort of fuzzily outline with big centers of darkness. Liked the many words for light in all its forms you managed to work in.

  18. Wonderful sonnet–compressed with lots of feeling, meaning, image. k.

  19. Cities liek a portrait, that was a great line, never thought of it like that.

  20. Just flows so well. And the words just hang there, in perfect drift.

    Just wonderful work here.

  21. I wonder what the world looks like from space…..thousands and thousands of little lights- like a torch cuppd between two hands – little shards of light escaping between the cracks. In sonnet form- this was really interesting to read- some great descriptive lines

  22. brilliant stuff, Astro Poet… may I take a ride in your shuttle??

  23. The slant rhyme at the end gives the entire piece an “other worldly” feel. Great sonnet. I was going to try to get one up myself. Got stuck on the second stanza. So admire them and this is excellent. Love reading your work, always makes me think.

  24. I love the image conjured from those last two lines. I saw a film of earth viewed from space, saw it years ago. It has stayed with me and swims in my mind when I read things like this.

  25. i think it would be pretty amazing to see the world from space and trace those spiderwebs across the globe….

  26. I’am always amazed at your work. I felt I was out there reading this like and astronaut.

  27. I do love how you combine science and poetry, Tammy. spiderweb lamps flick’ring…that’s a great line!

  28. very cool. Love the words you chose, very distinct in the impressions they cast to the mind. Great job. Thanks

  29. Thank you for this, beautifully done!


  30. Your scientific knowledge is so well expressed in poetry! Stunning work.

  31. This is a revisit…and glad I was able to take the trip again…You get better and better..I see more and more…Keep flying, Tammy!

  32. two concluding lines are so awesome..surely the most original sonnet i’ve read in ages…:)fits the picture perfectly. inspiring work, indeed 🙂

  33. As always, nice work, well researched. Much enjoyed.

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