Space Shuttle Mission: STS - 134
Observing natural phenomena, including the night sky, as well as the footprints of birds and animals, patterns of wind on grass and water, may have taken part in the origin of language by our pre-human ancestors. Astral events and cosmology have played a role in poetry, including suggestions for formal innovation - from the earliest records to the present, just as they have in everything from planting crops to the most bluntly practical technology. In the set of poems from which this passage comes, dreams and stars wander in and out of each other, and in and out of poetry of T'ang Dynasty China. The couplet in the English language, using the Roman alphabet balances paired lights with meteor showers, as Wai Ying-Wu's poem suggests that the falling of a pine cone indicates that his wife at their distant home shares his insomnia. My poem suggests connections with the origins of language (one of the things that makes us human), of writing, a particularly important example of writing as use a millennium and a third ago on the other side of the world, and the necessity of simultaneously understanding cosmology and ourselves, as the mail art network makes its first baby steps beyond the stratosphere. And doing so at a time when this genre with its roots in the Cold War could use some stellar guidance.