When North Itself Wanders
I love thinking about why my compass points north.
The deep, molten-metal motions, rising
And falling … gargantuan currents of iron
Conceiving vast magnetic fields, revealed
In my hand, by a tiny, quivering red needle.
Even more deliciously disturbing:
The field has been changing; the north pole is wan-der-ing
Towards Siberia, of all places – like a fading,
Frost-bitten explorer, staggering wide curves through the snow.
This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University