Whitby Writers Group

a self-help writers co-operative

A Written Constitution for the Universe

Acknowledgement: Jack Fusco


in former times the designation star
meant any bright dot in the firmament
Galileo referring to four “stars”
in orbit round the planet Jupiter,

recent usage has been more precise
finding names not only for the bright dots
in the sky but for the dark dots also,

the stars are fixed in their celestial sphere,
certain dots are wanderers in the sky.
Such planets keep within a certain plane –
the zodiacal plane. In days of old
the Sun and Moon were planets in this sense,

from time to time a errant body
finds itself pass close to planet Earth
such bodies are invariably observed
to be equipped with luminescent tails
arising from the bodies in question
consisting primarily of water ice
which on exposure to the solar heat
evaporates to form a steamy trail,

such bodies by historical usage
are called comets instead of asteroids
the latter being made of the same stuff
as planets: rock and heavy metals but
comets mostly or entirely water,

when first they are detected in the sky
asteroids and comets both show up as
bright dots, asteroids can get mistaken
for comets. But comets and asteroids
are subject to different naming rules,

Now, therefore,

We the Astronomers proclaim

Article 1
The planets must invariably be
seven in number. Should the need arise
for more planets to be designated
then erstwhile planets need to be expelled
from the muster to preserve its number.

Article 2
The need to include Earth and Uranus
entails expulsion of the Sun and Moon.
Accordingly we elevate the Sun
to the circle of the stars, and the Moon
accordingly we demote to a moon.

Article 3
A body too small to be a planet
must now be designated asteroid
a word which means resembling a star
but notwithstanding stars and asteroids
both being bright dots in the firmament
an asteroid is nothing like a star.
We hold this truth to be self-evident.

Article 4
A comet may become an asteroid
and an asteroid a comet. In which case
the body must comply with naming rules.

Article 5
Nothing in this Constitution may be
interpreted to render null and void
any provisions of the Law of God.

Article 6
Since the Law of God is written in
a language no one understands these days
it will be subject to adjustment to
accord with linguistic scholarship
and undergo monthly revision in
the light of ongoing experience.

Ian Clark

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