Click here to read Michael Leach on the origin of the poem.
Image: “Black Hole Image Makes History” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Photostream, licensed under CC 2.0.
I was inspired to write the poem ‘Black Hole Beheld’ on the morning of 11 April 2019. On this memorable morning, I beheld the first ever image of a black hole in social media posts across multiple platforms. I was awestruck by that solitary, oval-shaped hole surrounded by a bright halo and the darkness of space – a truly cosmic sight that had previously never been seen by human eyes. Upon following links and searching online, I discovered a range of interesting articles full of detailed yet readily comprehensible information about the black hole image. Here are links to two of my favourite news articles on the topic:
The natural beauty of the black hole image coupled with the fascinating facts in the news articles, such as the comparisons of the black hole’s size and distance from Earth with relatable quantities, inspired me to create a concrete or visual poem. I copied the black hole image from a social media post into a Microsoft Word document, before inserting text boxes over the top of the photo. I then proceeded to populate the text boxes with words of poetry related to what I had read and felt about the black hole. I used black text to visually represent the black hole and surrounding darkness, leaving an open space to signify the halo of radiant heat. In order to emphasise key points, I made use of some internal rhyming (e.g. ‘You are a force of nature with a heat signature’) and repeated two lines at the end. It is my hope that ‘Black Hole Beheld’ will grab readers attention, sharing the inherent beauty and wonder of this iconic image along with scientific information.