Science Poetry

Second Verse

“‘Twixt bud and blossom, April waits
In nature’s own transition state.  
A month poetic here restarts;
In verse renewed, find calming art.”

The 1 April 2020 verse celebrated the beginning of NaPoWriMo in 2020.  My initial Twitter postings had begun with NaPoWriMo in April 2019, and I had essentially prepared that set of thirty chemistry limericks before the month began.  Choosing to begin the monthlong routine in 2020 felt much more like a “throwing the hat over the wall” moment, as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete a new set of poems during such an unusual time!

“‘Twixt bud and blossom, April waits /
In nature’s own transition state.”
A “transition state,” in chemistry, refers generally to a midpoint of a chemical reaction.  At the point of the reaction described via the transition state, pertinent bonds are partially formed or broken.  A chemist denotes this point on a reaction energy diagram (sometimes described as a potential energy surface) as a maximum energy point, in an image that looks much like the top of a hill.  

In a reaction, a chemical species can revert backward to reactants or proceed forward to products, depending on which direction the reaction continues from the transition state.  Since the calendar moves resolutely forward, this isn’t the most precise imagery for April itself.  However, I had posted some photos of a budding tree along with this poem; to strain the chemical analogy even further, each individual bud reminded me of a particulate-level participant in the calendar’s macroscopic move, poised to potentially flower.    

“A month poetic here restarts; /
In verse renewed, find calming art.”

These last two lines acknowledged that I would be attempting to complete the NaPoWriMo challenge once again (“verse renewed”), aiming for the benefits of a creative habit in an otherwise-strange season.  I have described how the brief essays in this website’s space similarly provided helpful structure during Spring 2020. 

April 2020 would ultimately provide an interesting contrast to April 2019 in a few ways: first, its previously acknowledged ad hoc nature; second, the variety of styles I would use, in contrast to 2019’s limerick-only format.  The repetition of the writing process, though, brought a welcome sense of reliability.