Poem

Accessing the Powers of the Solar System

An Invocation for All Fertility Treatments

by Erica Gillingham

as featured on 'Devotion', Short Cuts, BBC Radio 4

on 4 June 2022

We, who are indebted to the advancement of science,

call on the mighty powers and forces of the solar system

to transform the improbable actuality of life’s beginning

for just an instant, on this day of momentous potential.

 

We supplicate to the greatest of living oceans at our shores

its cavernous riches only recently illuminated for terrestrial beings

but existing for millennia with bioluminescence, from microscopic 

single-celled organisms to deep-sea leviathans.

 

We raise an incantation to the great gas clouds of Venus

raining down sulphuric acid that never touches the surface

with temperatures so high, atmospheric pressure so crushing

winds churning heat, its tilt creating giant polar vortexes.

 

We incite the eruptive legacy of the red planet Mars

with the largest-known volcano in the cosmos, oozing lava

for hundreds of billions of years to astound modern-day

astronomers, its steady presence determining its greatness.

 

We summon the magnitude of Jupiter’s lightning storm

incomprehensible to the most precise human calculations

a swirling crimson spot on the scale of our perfect planet

with a moon whose rivers run magnificent with mercury.

 

We beseech the gigantic icy solidity of cerulean Neptune

found by mathematical prediction, not empirical observation

its presence effecting the orbit of neighbouring celestial bodies 

fourteen moons, collisional fragmentation creating five arcing rings.

 

We, who are beholden to meticulously-planned miracles,

implore the heavens for a glimmer of infinitesimal presence

in that instant when you might light up the monitor like a shooting star

and land here with us, cosmic whispers of the universe.