“Herald ” © Dr. Regina Valluzzi

Keeping Our Distance

Like saplings pegged apart in an orchard,
bulbs spaced in the earth, or even glasses
at their places at the table, we do not
crowd or lean in, but give each other room.
Like street lamps standing at intervals,
or pylons in fields, we keep our distance;
reach out, but do not touch. We stay
at arms-length, within calling distance.
Like trig-points on hilltops, or lit beacons
that stretch to the coast, we allow space
to pass between us, like the long, loose
stitches of a child’s sewing, time between
the midnight calls of an owl or the gaps
between stars that let in the dark.

What We Know

The blossom doesn’t know,
nor the crow in the cherry tree,
or the willow that stoops
low at the cricket ground.
Not the geese that chase the air,
or even the early wheat greening
in the fields. The wind doesn’t know,
as it blows angel-pins from
a dandelion, or clouds to and fro.
Don’t ask the sunlight; it wouldn’t
know, not even when it softens
at dusk to a copper glow.
The sky doesn’t know. Why should it?
Even though, it looks down
on everything below, every coming
and going, every hour we forgo.
The hedgerows wouldn’t know
even if you told them so; the words
would fall between the clouds
of snow-white blackthorn flowers.
But we know, that all this has happened,
and one day it will go.

Christopher James was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1975, and educated at Newcastle and UEA. A first prize winner of the National Poetry Competition, the Ledbury, Oxford Brooks and Bridport prizes he is also a recipient of an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. He has published several collections, including Farewell to the Earth (Arc, 2011), and The Fool (Templar, 2014) as well as two Sherlock Holmes novels, including The Adventure of the Beer Barons (MX, 2020). He lives in Suffolk with his family, folding bicycle and ukulele.

Art can illuminate even the most elusive and difficult to comprehend ideas. Visual rules and tightly codified visual metaphors help scientists communicate complex ideas mostly amongst themselves, but they can also become barriers to new ideas and insights. Dr. Regina Valluzzi’s images are abstracted and diverged from the typical rules and symbols of scientific illustration and visualization; they provide an accessible window into the world of science for both scientists and non-scientists.