118. A sonnet for ununoctium

Down in the corner squats a may-be element
that’s not yet fully come to light.
Just once or twice a meagre half-glimpsed atom
has flashed for a millisecond into sight,
leaving behind a sputtering of doubt.
The man in the street has never heard of it
and even some whose thoughts are full of quarks
may see it as a profitless diversion.

As super-nature’s super-heavyweight
it’s hit-or-miss. It hasn’t yet made out.
It needs a spark of adventitious fusion
to startle hard fact from hypothesis
and demonstrate what mere equations can’t –
that ununoctium’s not a non-event.

– David Morphet 2011