Repeat: T’was the Astronomer’s Day Before Christmas

A couple years ago I wrote the following for “Slacker Astronomy.” Enjoy! (New adventures may be posted this evening).

[Link To Audio]

T’was the day before Christmas, and all through the dome
Not a GUI was stirring, not even gnome.

The CCDs were stored in their cases with care,
In hopes that a super nova soon would be there;

The astronomers nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of dark-matter danced in their heads;

And I in my headphones, and my Mac in its place
Had just settled in to a podcast writing pace,

When out on the crest there arose such a clatter
I sprang to the desk to see what was the matter.

Away to the webcam (I tripped in my dash)
I tore open the Windows and threw up the Flash

The sun on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of summer to objects below

When, what to my wandering cam should appear,
But a theorist prof, and eight grads dressed like reindeer

With fear for the telescopes, so precious their time
I knew in a moment it must be Dr Belstein

More rapid than eagles his equations they came,
And he twittered, and shouted, to grad students by name;

Now, Daniel! Now, Donald! Now Ronald and Randy
On, Christin! on Kirsten on Rachel and Mandy

To the white board you go, No Greek letter too small!
Now solve away, solve away, solve away all!

As the comets that before the Sun’s gravity fly,
When they meet with an obstacle light up the sky,

So up to the markers the students they flew
With many reference books, and Dr. Belstein too

And then, in a twinkling, I saw in the math
Equations mapping the vectors of Santa’s path

As I drew near my screen, and was scrolling around
In the entry Dr. Belstein came with a bound

He was dressed all in Tweed from his head to his cuffs
And his clothes were all chalky from lecturing on space stuff

A bundle of finders he had clutched in his gloves
And he looked a bit crazed like a boy first in love

His eyes – how the twinkled! His intelligence how vast!
His pencils were nubs, his calculations so fast!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the fuzz on his head was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pencil he held tight in his teeth,
And the shavings from sharpening it formed a small wreath

He had a broad face; a little pot belly,
That shook when he shouted like bowlful of jelly

He was tenured and sage, a right proper old prof
I trembled when I saw him, my nerves went all soft

A blink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had all things to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to the scope
And pressed all the buttons; then gave one final poke

And laying his fingers on the telescope’s pier
He awaited images on the screen to appear

His screen went all white, and his team gave a whistle
The sunlight brought instrument death like a missile!

But I heard him exclaim, ere he fled out of sight,
“Next Christmas I’ll observe Santa only at night!”

I’d like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful Solstice, Best Kwanza Wishes, and may the Pasta be with you.

4 Comments

  1. Freiddie December 24, 2007 at 1:27 pm #

    Merry Christmas to you too!
    (Great poem)

  2. John M. December 24, 2007 at 2:36 pm #

    Thank you VERY much for having the courage to say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy non-specific winter or solstice festival”

    Cheers!

  3. Steve P. December 24, 2007 at 4:23 pm #

    “Courage” to say “Merry Christmas”? While also mentioning every other popular holiday? And appealing to His Noodliness??

    I’m confused…

    Anyway, I wish scientists (and engineers) would make more art like this. Thanks for the poem.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Star Stryder » Blog Archive » T’was the Astronomer’s Sys Admin’s Night Before Christmas- by Pamela L. Gay - December 24, 2007

    […] Map « « Repeat: T’was the Astronomer’s Day Before Christmas| Dec 24th, […]

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