The latest news from deep space is that scientists believe the explosion of a supernova at the center of our galaxy generated enough cosmic dust to make everything on Earth 7,000 times over, including us.
But then that should come as no surprise, since the noted scientific researcher Joni Mitchell, along with her lab assistants Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young detailed our connection to stardust back in 1970.
Long before that (but after that supernova explosion), Hoagy Carmichael was using chords to depict stardust, and Mitchell Parish provided some elegantly twisty lyrics to turn the focus of the song outward and back on itself at the same time.
Strangely, because it is a work of art and doesn’t have any particular physical qualities outside of the paper its notes and words are written on, the Carmichael/Parish song Stardust is actually one feature of our cultural landscape that’s NOT made of stardust. But that couldn’t protect the song from some savage treatment – me trying to wrangle it into something that reflects this latest bit of astronomical information:
Sometimes I wonder how the stuff
that makes us up, came to be around.
Floating free, scientists agree,
some dust congealed to me and you.
When we were brand new,
drifting in a constellation!
Ah, but that was long ago,
and our coagulation means that to stardust we belong.
Exploding ancient stars
gave off some light, and a lot of stuff.
The stuff survived. Later we arrived.
I can’t explain it, nor can you.
I believe they know
So let’s all just say it’s so.
We’re stardust, you and me,
Debris from chaos, long ago.
What are you made of?