By: Blaise Cendrars
March 3, 2023

A (pro- or anti-) science-, mathematics-, technology-, space-, apocalypse-, dehumanization-, disenchantment-, and/or future-oriented poem published during sf’s emergent Radium Age (c. 1900–1935). Research and selection by Joshua Glenn.

George Willis Ritchey – Great Nebula on Orion, c.1901

It’s my constellation
It’s shaped like a hand
It’s my own hand high in the sky
All through the war through a gap I saw
The Zeppelins that came to bomb Paris
     always came from Orion
Today it’s above my head
The long pole pierces the palm of the hand
     that must suffer
As my severed hand makes me suffer
     pierced constantly by a spear

— 1928. Translated by A.S. Kline


RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF POETRY: Stephen Spender’s THE PYLONS | George Sterling’s THE TESTIMONY OF THE SUNS | Archibald MacLeish’s EINSTEIN | Thomas Thornely’s THE ATOM | C.S. Lewis’s DYMER | Stephen Vincent Benét’s METROPOLITAN NIGHTMARE | Robert Frost’s FIRE AND ICE | Aldous Huxley’s FIFTH PHILOSOPHER’S SONG | Sara Teasdale’s “THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS” | Edith Södergran’s ON FOOT I HAD TO… | Robert Graves’s WELSH INCIDENT | Nancy Cunard’s ZEPPELINS | D.H. Lawrence’s WELLSIAN FUTURES | & many more.


Poetry, Radium Age SF