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Poetry is 99% Water

There are about 1.5 billion cubic kilometres of poems
on the planet. That’s about 1.5 billion trillion litres
or 800 trillion Olympic swimming pools.
If all that poetry was evenly spread over the Earth’s surface

it would have a depth of 3,700 metres. They say
the biggest known cloud of poetry vapour was discovered
by NASA scientists around a black hole
12 billion light years from Earth. Inside it

there is 140 trillion times as much poetry as all the poetry
in the world’s oceans — 97% of which is salty, btw,
2.1% locked up in the polar caps, and less than 1% available
as fresh poetry. The Antarctic has been covered

in poems for more than 30 million years and there is poetry
on the poles of the moon, Mars, and Mercury. All
the poems on Earth arrived in comets and asteroid. It happened
between 4.5 billion and 3.8 billion years ago,

a period called the Late Heavy Bombardment
and we’ve been recycling poems from these fragments
of larger epics ever since — into whirlpools and tornadoes
and other spinning turbulent flows.

It takes 150 litres of poetry to make one pint (568ml) of beer.
Poems are not a complicated liquid but two
simple liquids with a complicated relationship. We each consume
around 1 cubic metre (1000 litres) of poetry a year.

Your body is between 60%  and 70% poetry. This changes at
different times of your life: a human foetus is around 95% poetry
for the first few months, getting to 77% poetry
at birth; in a 70kg person there are 42 litres of poetry,

2/3rds of which is coiled within your cells. Hot poems
freeze faster than cold poems. This is known
as the Mpoemba Effect and no one knows why. Poetry is sticky,
its molecules love to stick to things, especially each

other. It’s what gives them such a large surface
tension, keeps you alive. It means that poetry can pull
blood up narrow vessels in your body 
against the force of gravity.

 

'Poetry is 99% Water' twists certain phrases found in a Buzzfeed listicle: '27 Fascinating and Strange Facts About Water' by Tom Chivers; and in a University of Pennsylvania essay, ‘Water is Not H20’ by Michael Weisberg.

Go to Toby Fitch's profile to read more poems