Last 26th April a neutron star was “eaten up” by a black hole. But who cares? Well, we do a little bit and that is why we asked Jennifer Smith to write a poem exclusively for Perro negro
Hungry Black Hole
It happened on a uneventful twenty-sixth of April.
It was like listening to somebody whispering a word in a busy cafe.
A mere belch of gravitational waves rippling across the cosmos.
A real event rather than a random blip in the background noise of the universe.
Yes, she was truly unique but at 1.2 billion light-years away,
That neutron star won’t be missed.
Yes she was ten billion times stronger than steel
But she was also the collapsed remnants of a giant star.
A diminished Super-Nova.
Yes, yes, a teaspoon of her neutron star stuff has a mass of about a billion tonnes.
But the small black hole had gravitational hunger.
That smooth crust of pure neutrons was like cosmic cake.
Was it ripped apart or did it slide seamlessly into the mouth of oblivion?
Not easy to say because that stellar spot is still a vast region.
They are now chasing an unfortunately enormous patch of the sky
To see whether there’s some light that has switched on
Explosively a while ago, like when I light a cigarette.
Jennifer Smith / London / June 2019