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Poem: "A Nose for Trouble" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "A Nose for Trouble"

This poem is from the May 6, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette.  It also fills the "telescope" square in my 3-30-14 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest.

A Nose for Trouble

Tycho Brahe always had
a nose for trouble,
losing the tip of his in a duel that
started over a mathematical equation
and replacing it with one of gold.

In 1560, he witnessed
a solar eclipse
which inspired him
to become an astronomer.

Tycho soon realized that
that this science could only succeed
based on meticulous nightly observations.

He used a compass and sextant
to make measurements, but also
refined or invented many instruments
including the Tyconian Quadrant.

He was the last
of the great naked-eye astronomers,
living before the invention of the telescope
by Hans Lippershey in 1608.

In his De nova stella,
Tycho disproved the belief
of an unchanging celestial realm
that dated back to Aristotle.

His exact observations demonstrated
that the stellae novae, our supernovae,
did not display the parallax
of sub-lunar phenomena,
and therefore must lie above
both the atmosphere and the moon.

Likewise he indicated that comets
could not be atmospheric phenomena
but must cross through the celestial spheres
once considered immutable.

This was, needless to say,
an unpopular upheaval of beliefs.

Tycho died under mysterious circumstances --
possibly a bladder or kidney condition,
possibly mercury poisoning --
and left behind his observations
which were taken up by
his student Johannes Kepler.

He said of himself that
"He lived like a sage and died like a fool,"
but it is certain that he had not lived in vain.

* * *


Tycho Brahe was an astronomer and famously eccentric.  He refined or invented various instruments, including the Tyconian Quadrant.

Read about the history of telescopes.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: May 11th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
ha ha, I see what you did there in the last line!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 11th, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Well, the poor guy clearly needed the reassurance.
2 comments or Leave a comment