Mechanicals

Kneegee_croppedby twdhughes11 Feb 2014

Triremes pull towards
Syracuse, Archimedes
pie-eyed at the moon.
Third-century Corinthian
colonies under attack.

Later a trade route to Rhodes
en route to Rome, from
Pergamum, Ephesus,
the lost thalassan moon
churned to sea loam.

The inchoate universe boxed, this
Antikythera mechanism
computes intercalation,
goes on measuring the heavens
submerged for centuries;

melting cogs meld
mesh in a wind-up
verdigrised with bronze.
Calcified clockwork
turns in the ticking deep.

Elliptical, Metonic,
moon’s month and sun’s year
coalesce to predict eclipses;
primes 19, 127, 223
reconcile solar and lunar time.

Babylon knew the significance
of saros, but the Greek mind
conceived gears to drive the mechanism,
ratchet up the planets’ movement
to track the off-kilter moon.

In this geocentric kosmos
miniaturisation composes meaning
to tease out sidereal complexity;
forecasting the hour of darkness,
sea’s obsidian from lapis lazuli.

Byzantium, Islamic scholars,
Al Andalus to the Renaissance,
measuring town square time
in unbroken lines to yesterday.
Tomorrow’s teeth moving already.

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