Poetry Shelf audio poem: Bill Nelson reads ‘Red shift / blue shift’







Bill Nelson reads ‘Red shift / blue shift’.




I wrote this poem after reading a popular science book about the fringes of scientific knowledge. One of those fringes is the size and trajectory of the universe. In the early 20th Century, scientists measured the way light shifts red, or blue, from distant stars. And with this, they discovered that the universe we can see is expanding, that it is big, damn big, and that it probably started with something like the Big Bang. They also discovered that because of the speed of light, we can never know beyond what we can see, and that the universe is ultimately unknowable. All really interesting stuff, but mainly I just liked how the colours were like codes for something else, codes that we just had to observe to unlock their meaning.

Bill Nelson



Bill Nelson has just returned to Wellington from Scotland and France, where he was on the run from authority. His first book of poetry, Memorandum of Understanding, was published by VUP. He is a co-editor at Up Country: A Journal for the NZ Outdoors and his work has appeared in journals, dance performances and on billboards. You can find more about him here.












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