Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Robot Scientist's Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Cesium Burns Blue
Copper burns green. Sodium yellow,
strontium red. Watch the flaming lights
that blaze across your skies, America—
there are burning satellites
even now being swallowed by your horizon,
the detritus of space programs long defunct,
the hollowed masterpieces of dead scientists.
Someone is lying on a grassy hill,
counting shooting stars,
wondering what happens
when they hit the ground.
In my back yard in Oak Ridge,
they lit cesium
to measure the glow.
Hold it in your hand:
foxfire, wormwood, glow worm.
Cesium lights the rain,
is absorbed in the skin,
unstable, unstable,
dancing away, ticking away
in bones, fingernails, brain.
Sick burns through, burns blue.


Title: The Robot Scientist's Daughter
Author: Jeannine Hall Gailey
ISBN: 9781936419425
Publisher: Mayapple Press/2015
Pages: 82

When I was asked by Serena Agusto-Cox to review this poetry book for Poetic Book Tours, I did not think twice. I had read and reviewed way back in 2009. I liked what Jeannine Hall Gailey had penned in that.

Coming back to The Robot Scientist's Daughter, I liked the title. When I read the introduction by the poet, I was hooked to the poems. I could relate to the scientific stuff mentioned in the poems. My dad used to talk Physics to us during meal times. He explained the complicated scientific stuff in a very simplified manner. Theoretical physics still is part of my life.

I have done my Masters in Inorganic Chemistry. When Gailey writes about various Elements and their properties and mentions GeigerMüller counter, I know exactly what she is speaking about.

These poems speak to me, reach out to me. When we say Nuclear, everyone thinks Nuclear bombs, Nuclear wars. No one thinks of the nuclear debris, which is more devastating then the bombs and wars. Why? Because it kills slowly, and spreads over generations.

Gailey has personalized the poems and that connects to the heart. I paused at times, reflecting on the words, was saddened too, now and then. Rural childhood is mixed with straight laced scientists, consequences of our mindless nuclear experimentation. To what effect? Destruction in one way or the other. 

Each of the poems that talks of The Robot Scientist's Daughter, in one way or the other, fills us with poignancy, helplessness and stoic acceptance. I find poetry books hard to review but this one was easy for me despite being on a difficult topic of science, which most don't relate to.

Posting this for Poetic Book Tours


Serena said...

Thank you so much for being on the tour! I love that this collection connected with you so well. I'm so glad that you loved it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, intense! Not my usual genre but I'm glad you did enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.

Cleopatra Loves Books said...

What a fantastic opening from a book I wouldn't have thought of picking up. Here is my Tuesday post https://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/first-chapter-first-paragraph-april-28/

Laura said...

I like the way it sounds. Thanks for sharing it!

Kay said...

Interesting. I'd read more.

Harvee said...

The perfect book for you, Gautami, with your science background. I'd like to read it even though I am firmly in the humanities field.