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February 18, 2012 / Rae Spencer

What Am I?

What am I
When I’m spinning?

A giddy earthen child
Hair and hands in orbit
All my brilliant paths described
By Riemann’s rumpled planes

When dizzy, I collapse in grass
Yearn toward the evening moon
Enchanted by its gibbous rise
Its constant tide-locked face

Tugs the sea and me alike
The atoms of our mass
Bound ebb to flow, neap to high
By Newton’s Principia

While Schrödinger’s wistful cat
Waits in later pages
Unknown as yet, and left to pace
In undetermined fate

What am I
When I’m sleeping?

A prism child of night
Splintered into photon dreams
Cradled in hot nebulae
And scattered throughout space

A bleak and cold infinitude
Some billion other worlds
Suspended around other stars
In beginning states of grace

Unseen, like ore in deep, hot veins
Compressed beneath the ages
Until revealed by algorithm
And captured in equation

With Schrödinger’s hapless cat
Purring at my side
Alive and dead, unrealized
An enigma in time’s keeping

4 Comments

  1. Sharon Poch / Feb 18 2012 5:12 PM

    Beautifully rendered, “prism child of night” . . .
    Shar

  2. Betty Hayes Albright / Feb 18 2012 9:23 PM

    I love poems that combine nature, science, and philosophy. This is beautifully done! (And what a precious kitty that is. 🙂 )

    • Rae Spencer / Feb 18 2012 9:41 PM

      Thank you! This poem has been through many, many revisions. I’m not entirely convinced that it is “finished”, but it’s finished for the moment. (The cat is our newest addition. She recently decided this particular sunny spot was her favorite place in the house…)

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