Un-bih-NOHNST ➕ kwī-ˈe-sᵊnt

Unbeknownst is the June 6th Word of the Day over at politically charged Merriam-Webster, and it’s one of my favorite words ever, so even though I recently updated this blog, I can’t help but take a stab at drafting a quick poem for this brilliant word.

However, I committed to looking up some new medical-related words in a previous post;

So it’s time to build a creative combo pack with two words.

I’m pretty sure creative combo packs were how sentences were born. But don’t quote me on it; my feeling is an intuitive conclusion, and therefore bears no roots in facts.

Like how our president makes decisions…

…Okay, scratch the theory of the birth of sentences—for now. I’ll get back to you.

Teach a man to reason
and he’ll think
for a lifetime.

— Phil Plait


Unbeknownst to You

The more we learn
the further we stretch

our Known World, expand
our living Imagination
into the unknown

Universe; but if unbeknownst
to you, the Universe created

black holes that absorb light
and emit Hawking radiation;

and if, unbeknownst
to you, Evolution formed

eyes that absorb light
and emit Consciousness;

and if, unbeknownst
to you, photons contained

density that affects
their interaction 
with neutrinos;

then how will you be able
to question the Universe,

to consider the truly unknown
beyond your veil of delusions?


Quiescent 20-Megaton Explosions

After a meek, little asteroid
flew over Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey,

it descended upon New York
then dented a car

with a football-shaped rock
that brought laughter to the village.

Off in Arizona, Meteor Crater’s
mile-wide dimple still attracts

tourists, an object once 30-
to 50-miles across, laying ruin

to 50,000-year-old buffalo;
while in Hawaii, Kilauea Volcano

proves again
as above, so below

yet we ignore the pattern
of decay we once so deftly

kept in check, as if all the asteroids
in the cosmos lie quiescent and benign;

as if the cells in our body
are unaltered by greedy events;

as if all the ripples
in the Earth will never be

enough to break
our sound barriers and register

as the desperate screaming
of the star-stuff beneath our feet.

65 million years ago, the dinosaurs had a bad day. A chunk of rock, six miles across, moving something like 50 times the speed of a rifle bullet, slammed into the Earth; it released its energy all at once, and it was a explosion that was mind-numbing.

If you took every nuclear weapon ever built at the height of the Cold War, lumped them together, and blew them up at the same time, that would be one-one-millionth of the energy released at that moment.

It wiped out 75% of the species on Earth.

—Phil Plait



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