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Nuclear Fusion

written upon hearing of the UK’s recent fusion energy breakthrough

Those white-coated boffins in England,
Have been toiling for years, so it seems.
To harness the power of Fusion,
As the answer to all of our dreams.

Where millions of pounds have been wasted,
On experiments destined to fail.
And so, turn your thoughts to a village,
And a very peculiar tale.

Where, once lived a bearded old hermit,
In a shack down a very dark lane.
Where the Winters were cold and ferocious,
As this fellow was heard to complain.

So, one night, he loaded his furnace,
With logs that he kept round the back.
He was feeling quite cosy by midnight,
As he shuffled upstairs to his sack.

The Church bell struck three in the morning,
As he slumbered away in his pit.
When the logs that he’d stacked in his burner,
Had started to bubble and spit.

“You’d better come down very quickly,”
Through his letterbox someone did shout.
“For your house is at risk of explosion,
If that raging fire isn’t put out.”

He stumbled downstairs in confusion,
And was shocked at the sight that he saw.
For a ball of pure plasma was glowing,
And rotating behind his front door.

And then, like a wild flash of lightning,
There was glass flying round everywhere.
As the plasma flew out of the window,
To hang in the sky way up there.

The folk all around were astonished,
For them, better times had begun.
As this freezing cold place in Old England,
It now had its very own sun.

The temperature climbed up to eighty,
And it lasted for several weeks.
As the ladies strolled round in their swimsuits,
With their sunglasses perched on their beaks.

Then coachloads of tourists kept coming,
They travelled from far and from near.
Like that bunch of old guys from Barbados,
Who said it was warmer out here.

They called it the New Riviera,
As over to England they steered.
Where the folk of the village got wealthy,
All thanks to the guy with the beard.

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Jeff Eardley lives in the heart of England near to the Peak District National Park and is a local musician playing guitar, mandolin and piano steeped in the music of America, including the likes of Ry Cooder, Paul Simon, and particularly Hank Williams.


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9 Responses

  1. Brian Yapko

    Jeff, this poem is a riot — a splendidly whimsical narrative which makes me think of Roald Dahl. From it I learned a new British word: “boffin”, I learned about a new source of nuclear fusion, and I learned how certain parts of England would benefit from some Caribbean sunshine. A rollicking blast. This, by the way, is a poem that would be greatly enhanced by illustrations.

    Reply
  2. Jeff Eardley

    Brian, thank you for your most generous remarks. Our recent fusion breakthrough produced enough energy to….wait for it….boil sixty electric kettles. So that’s our energy crisis sorted out for good, as long as our only activity is afternoon tea. Thank for “rollicking blast” which is a great name for a rock band, and the idea for illustrations that I will pursue.

    Reply
  3. Margaret Coats

    Jeff, your hermit did really well. He does seem to have produced a lot of carbon, but he got more energy out than he put in. And what’s really remarkable is that his plasma hung in the sky where it was useful and didn’t need a container. Looks like England is way ahead in the cheap energy race! When do the foreign thieves and the London regulators show up?

    Reply
  4. Jeff Eardley

    Margaret, ha, ha and thank you for commenting. Cheap energy is just a pipe dream over here as our bills are set to rocket in April. We are just battening down the hatches in anticipation of the delightfully named storm Eunice. California dreaming, you bet we are.

    Reply
  5. Mike Bryant

    This is just perfect. Besides the wonderful poetry, you have a great story and a perceptive take on the whole fusion fiasco. The only thing I’d change is “millions” to “trillions” spent because that is probably closer to the truth. Love it.
    Fusion energy is only thirty years away just like it was in the fifties.

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Thanks for your comments Mike. I can only reflect on the Zillions spent on the Large Hadron Collider. Now what was that for? Ah….the Higgs Boson….I am none the wiser.

      Reply
      • Mike Bryant

        Jeff, I have a feeling that every dime of taxpayer money spent by our governments contains eight or nine cents that is kicked right back to the big boys.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Jeff, I love this! You have a knack for making me laugh in the face of misery – a marvellous gift! Your poem sweeps along and conjures images that explode (with their own brand of warmth and energy) before the eyes. If only you could bottle your brand and sell it… you’d warm the shivering people of England up with enough dosh left over to fly off to holiday in warmer climes… when the curve is flattened, stamped out and erased, of course. Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, thank you and I hope the misery isn’t as bad as our endless rain over here. Your kind comments are always an inspiration to so many scribblers on these pages. As to bottling brands and selling, the poetic world is crying out for your anthology. Put me down for a signed copy.

    Reply

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