"A book of verses, underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread -- and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness --
Ah, wilderness were paradise enow!"

-- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as translated by Edward Fitzgerald

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Alchemy Pyrotechnica

When creating blue
stars, the known pyrotechnics
may turn perilous.

Failure and danger
lurk within: too quick, too hot,
too cool; worst: a dud.

Pure ingredients
produce the immaculate
perception desired.

Compounds must behave
reliably and, once lit,
burn true to color.

Fuels, emitters, and
oxidizers combined must
be stable when stored.

Strong and easily
excited, sodium spoils
the colors in fire.

Blue emitters – too
reactive – can’t wait in a
pellet beforehand.

Emitters must be
compounded, then displayed, while
exploding skyward.

Balanced fuels, none too
bright, must elevate blue stars’
fragile emitters.

For brilliance, pine root
pitch, gums, or rosins may burn
with too cool a fire.

Metallic fuels tempt
fireworkers; incandescence
overshines colors.

Only the adept
pyromancer should attempt
this difficult hue.