Dust to dust

We’ve got one of those vacuum cleaners with a transparent collection container, so you can see what’s been sucked up into it. I used to wonder where such huge amounts of detritus could possibly have come from – until I saw a television programme about the formation of the Earth . . .

When the universe was younger, vast amounts of cosmic dust
Coalesced to form the rocky inner planets.
On the Earth, the surface cooled to make a solid outer crust
Made of basalt, topped by continental granites.

Now the universe is older, there’s still lots of cosmic dust;
But the trouble is, it doesn’t coalesce.
It gets everywhere – just look around! – and, much to my disgust,
It’s me who has to hoover up the mess.

[Image (of the Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud, by the Spitzer Space Telescope): NASA]
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