Stonehill College Science Poetry Contest
In 2009, Biology Professor Roger Denome and his Scientific Critique Class started the Stonehill College Science Poetry Contest.
The contest attracted over 30 entries in three categories, which were judged by a panel of three students and two faculty.
Congratulations to all of this year's winners.
Third Place: Tie
2009 Winning Poems
The ingredients of science are anything but simple
The genetics move and transform
The substances beg to react, to engage, to absorb
To be discovered
The grains of scientific knowledge are anything but minor
The temperatures rise and fall
The chemicals beg to spread, to spill, to bleed
To be defined
Science calls for us to learn and we refuse to leave in silence.
- Daniel Alifonso '11
I've been frazzled by Physics and muddled by Micro;
All of this Chemistry's driven me psycho.
A year's worth of Calc wasn't my plan for fun,
And I'm constantly praying for lab to be done.
Sometimes I feel like the Science Building's my home,
And I can't seem to get away from the genome.
Cells, bacteria, and fungi galore,
I can only imagine what else is in store.
A major in Bio will give you much strife,
I guess that's the price to learn the science of life.
-- Shannon Slota '10
To question the unquestionable
Beliefs are dangerous, I once read.
but then please explain why
descriptions of stardust phenomena,
spiraling mysteries too,
when followed to the end
-- Matt Rigby '10
It rained that morning. The
sky was one big cloud, a solid
mass with no fissures, no rivers
of blue sky, only land above
and below and in between cars
sandwiched on the highway
between two slices of gray.
Above our car,
we heard the sky quake, saw it
on tectonic plate,
blue seas erupting,
oozing with lava light,
on liquid fire as
Pangaea cracked into
We pulled over in that parking lot,
the one next to the airport, to watch
Triassic turn Jurassic turn Cretaceous:
a flower opened, closed,
a Triceratops hatched, froze,
an empire erected, toppled.
As the storm moved on,
we thought of people in the planes,
fasten seatbelt signs glowing orange,
ice cubes melting in clear plastic cups,
rounded eyes peeing out windows
at Africa, now Asia, now Arabian Sea,
Madagascar all alone, Iceland yet to be.
When the last cloud drowned
with day, leaving only lonely
lights blinking in the black, we
drove home thinking of maps,
facts as hard as lava, single
pages in a prehistoric story.
-- Ellen Brown '09
The siege of my backyard last year
Was not by Beatles, but by birds,
Whose chirrups seemed to sharply cheer
A song of conquest without words.
Descended from the first ones brought
To help dispatch the insect pests,
The English Sparrows just did not
Regard my other feathered guests.
The feeder raids for daily seed
Became a gang affair, for they
Would often linger, not to feed,
But chase the other birds away.
And nesting boxes every spring
Were housing broods of chickadees
Until barrage of beak and wing
Evicted parents to the trees.
Then nests were built from trash around
And young, in waves, were hatched and reared,
And when these new ones fledged, I found
That other species disappeared.
This spring is near; I can't deny
My role in their invasive stay,
So while a pair was perched nearby,
I took the boxes down today.
-- Megan Shave '11
'Twas the night before the exam, and all through the dorm,
All chemistry students were working, as is the norm.
A crease in their brows as they concentrate hard,
Material sinks in with each index card.
A few hours later, they climb into their beds,
While visions of benzene rings danced in their heads.
Sigma and pi bonds haunted their dreams,
Until suddenly awoken by nightmarish screams.
I calmed down my friend, who explained she was stressed,
She dreamed she'd slept in, and had missed the test.
Next morning, we rise early to sneak a peak at our notes,
Then leave the rest up to fate and throw on our coats.
Once in the exam, pens and pencils are flying,
Some students half done, and others are sighing.
Now, Ether! Now, Ketone! Now, Amine and Aldehyde!
On, Ester! On, Nitrile! On, Imine and Anhydride!
It's finally over, we hope we did well,
Did I get number nine? Only time will tell.
The professor will grade them, and pass the tests back,
Another chemistry exam done, lets hope we don't slack.
-- Diana Batt '12
It is the place where worlds meet,
Like galaxies dancing as they collide in the sky.
It is the incredible intake of information,
Which applies to every living thing.
An observation of the night sky during a lunar eclipse,
Theories of evolution and personality.
The classification of species, and the separation of elements.
The pine trees and ponds that surround us,
And the promise of our future.
It is time spent in lab, lecture, and meeting with faculty.
It is the cooperation of students to achieve a common goal,
And doing what was once deemed impossible.
It is science.
-- Jessica Giammalvo '12
[Adapted "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe]
Once upon a late night dreary, while I studied weak and weary,
Over many a dull and confusing volume of old physics lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my dorm room door.
'Tis some visitor' I muttered, 'tapping at my bedroom door --
Only this and nothing more.
Oh how clearly I remember, it was in the Cold December,
With every Astro Club members' paper sitting on floor.
Eagerly I damned the morrow; -- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow -- knowledge of the physics core --
I the rare and brave maiden whom does major in the physics core --
Nameless here forevermore.
And the shaken and uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me -- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, so still the beating of my heart, I sat repeating
'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my dorm room door --
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my bedroom door; --
This it is, and nothing more.
Just then my soul grew stronger; hesitating no longer,
'You' I said, 'Whoever, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the truth is I was napping when so gently you were rapping
And so faintly you were tapping, tapping at my bedroom door,
That I barely thought I heard you' -- here I opened up the door --
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Back into the room turning, all my brains within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping that was louder than before.
'Surely' I said, 'Surely there is something out beyond my window;
Let me see then what it is, and this mystery explore --
Take a break here for a moment and this mystery explore; --
'Tis a goose and nothing more!'
Then over by the bed there sitting, my heart jumped to see there sitting,
Across the room a stately spirit of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, sat across my bedroom floor --
Sat near my books of physics just across my bedroom floor --
Sat and read, and nothing more.
Then this pale spirit beguiling my sad face into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
Surely here you are to save me, from studying this physics core.
Ghastly grim and ancient spirit wandering from the Stonehill shore --
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Stonehillian shore!'
Quoth the spirit, 'Study more.'
I marveled this unruly being to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning -- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing spirit beyond his dorm room door --
Physics spirit amongst their work just beyond his bedroom door,
While telling them to 'Study more.'
But the spirit still beguiling my sad being into smiling,
So I wheeled an office chair into the middle of my floor;
Then, upon my elbow sinking, I betook myself to thinking
Here this physics spirit, thinking what this well known physics master
What this great, grim, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous thing of yore
Meant in saying 'Study more.'
'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil!' -- prophet still if good or devil! --
Whether sent here by a greater, or you chose me to implore,
Desolate and left empty, on this day of finals more --
Here in Corr by horror haunted -- tell me here what you are for --
Is there -- is there more to Mechanics? -- tell me -- tell me, I implore!
Quoth the spirit, 'Study more.'
Just then I flinched there napping, drooling on my paper to the floor
On the physics notes Id taken just that one night there before;
And my eyes still full of dreaming, could still see that spirit screaming,
And the notes of physics jargon that IÕd have to write once more.
For the paper I'd been writing that was due the day before
Shall be completed, soon as I study more.
-- Jessica Giammalvo '12
Oh polymerase chain reaction machine
How much easier research is when you comply
If only it were so simple as to prepare the tubes
But it's not enough and I don't know why
Time, time and time again I approach you
Having battled chemicals with which I pour my gels
30 tubes well prepared, the machine set properly
And me anxious to fill my set wells
The necessary components are always available
DNA, water, primer, and master mix all pipetted
Yet you anneal, denature, and elongate nothing
Giving me another 3 hours that I have regretted
So many good samples have been wasted
So much of my time has been spent
With no DNA bands to show
The dye has nothing to represent
But today will be the day
You will fool me no longer
I will finally get results
I have since become stronger
I have learned that technical skill is not enough
One must also have other attributes
Like great patience and karma
The technician and machine must be in cahoots
I have sat with the machine
And we both understand
That it is time to work for me
It's time I got bands
So now my samples are ready
And my gels well poured
I've prayed to the PCR gods
Results I am assured
I sit quietly in the lab
The only thing to do is wait
Preparing other tubes will only be a jinx
I have finally learned this fate
No music will I play
No wishing will I do
These tactics have been tried before
Not even gum will I chew
The hour and a half is finally up
My gels are prepped and ready to go
20ml of dye was added to each sample
It is time to determine friend or foe
Samples have been loaded in the firm wells
For 45 minutes the gel has been run
Results are almost in
Time to see if I have finally won
Into the gel doc the gel goes
And bands in every column I see
What wonders this means for my research
For I have figured out the key
So chew no gum and listen to no music
And don'tforget to pray to the PCR gods
Do not start any other works
And you and the machine will never be at odds
-- Angela Farinella '10