From poets to scientists

The observation of the sky is of the poets. It is possible that the writer front to Science is always an aspirant, but nonetheless, the writer is an observer of the imaginary of science.

Every 76 years on average Halley’s comet orbits around the sun, so large and bright that a simple view from Earth can be seen. This has been seen and recorded by astronomers since at least 240 B.C. This is how science confirms us. Clear documents of the comet’s appearances were made by different cultures, like the chroniclers, Chinese, Babylonian and medieval Europeans in the year one thousand, but were never recognized as reactions of the same object until the seventeenth century. In the year 1680 this star (first named as “Halley” in 1705 by the English astronomer who gives his name) passed through Mexico as a terrifying and apocalyptic monster for men. However, it was the poet Carlos Sigüenza y Góngora who wrote in his Astronomical Libra that the comets were not the cause of an omen, nor of males. Nor were they monstrosities of heaven.

It will also be the poet Andrés Bello who writes in 1848 a Cosmography or Description of the Universe, and although he enrolls in that generation of enlightened men, he does so in this case from a scientific discipline that no longer interests as much as it did in the century XVII. This, the Cosmography, consists of fifteen intense sections dating from the forms and physical constitution of the globe, the sun, the moon, the stars, the aeroliths; also of the operation of the planetary system, the gravitational force, of the day, the night, the weather, the seasons.

The cosmos has been there to observe it, to imagine it, but also to make with it and about it a poetic matter, always close to the abyss of thought or to the crashing of sensations. Auguste Blanqui already said, “This wave of comet effluvium, which wears the tongue in the act of defining its nothingness, would challenge the force that dominates the universe!”.

Probably written around 1685 and published in 1692, Sr. Juana Inés de la Cruz presents us from the first verse of First Dream in the poetic experience of the cosmos: “Pyramidal, unfortunate, from the earth / born shadow, to the sky headed / vain obelisks haughty tip, / climb pretending the stars ”.

The first radio station in Mexico City aired on May 8, 1923, with a program that went out with the poet Manuel Maples Arce reading a stridentist poem about the radio: “TSH: the radio poem”: “On the night cliff of silence / the stars throw their programs / and in the reverse audition of reverie / words are lost / forgotten.”

The observation experience assumes a double value for the poet. On the one hand, he faces a dimension that makes him look towards an original experience, by the very fact of the words in the poem, with his verse cuts, appealing to rhythms, unconscious or archaic things that he cannot handle. On the other hand, he confronts the poet with what he always does not know, and therefore, imagines.

There is something still of mystery in that cosmos, something powerful in the air; and there is still some prophetic intolerance in the poets who look, who hear, and in the comets that pass.


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