This poem was read by the author, Kendra Kehde, at the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation at the Horn Antenna in Holmdel, New Jersey.  Pictured above are Kendra Kehde on the right reading her poem while Holmdel mayor Rocco Impreveduto looks on.  For more info about this event click here.

The Big Bang Blows Its Own Horn

by Kendra Kehde

Fifty-eight years after the fact,
I parked outside chained gates,
defied No Trespassing signs
to walk the drive of Bell Labs’ abandoned annex.
I trudged against New Jersey’s December wind
up the steep trail of broken asphalt.

And there it was, still hugging the peak
of Crawford Hill, the highest point
on Monmouth County’s coastal plain:
the Holmdel Horn Antenna,
sixteen tons of Nobel-enabling aluminum creation.

I sat by a plaque citing the accidental detection in 1964
of the near-imperceptible thermal bath—
photons set free to fly by the first-formed atoms—
those original waves of light

now flowing through my eyes, wafting through
my bones and hands. Now soaking the trees, the hill,
the dried brambles at the edge of the site, still
radiating the remembered breath of hot, dense newness.

I imagined an incantatory calling forth
by horned deities in their fecund power,
companioned by insect ancestors,
their feelers alert and sensing.

I saw horn-amulet-adorned healers
from every continent riding Earth’s salt sway
knowing the sacred horn-shaped symbol
united Eros and Agape:
the ‘aperture sensitive’ pointy end
telescoping into the wide-open chalice of embrace.

For in every direction the astronomer-shamans played the great Horn—
no matter how they pursed the lips of science to direct the sound,
the antenna’s penetrating beam echoed as receptacle:
a strange, soft, ceaseless hum—
that—it turns out—wasn’t pigeon dung—

but the background to love, laughter, black holes,
rhinoceri, and whales’ watery oratorio:
A haunting, remembered, re-membering strain,
now performed in microwave.

Earth’s goose-pimple hill shivered in awareness.
Grasses surrounding the small outbuildings spiked to attention.
Slim young maples and beeches danced empathic tree glee,
while the spongy fungi nodded sagely

in the dark, mycorrhizal loam of Earth
in the root of all things
in the root of all thing-ing

seeing, feeling, and hearing—
Big Bang’s emberglow aftersong still
hissing and floating
through every expanding breath of cosmological being

irrefutable at last—duly measured and noted.

The song—kissed and known—by the singing.

Kendra Kehde is a scholar, poet, and visual artist exploring the intersection of consciousness, embodiment, and creative emergence with the discourses of science, history, philosophy, and music.  She’s a certified Deeptime Leader.