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Posts Tagged ‘science’

And Mean It, Too

In every second, one hundred trillion neutrinos
pass through the body: One hundred trillion

subatomic particles move through us
as if we were sieves, no, as if we were nets

with holes so big that whole islands
travel through without us noticing.

It thrills me to think of the self so porous,
so leaky. Imagine if thoughts, too,

could clear us with so little friction,
so little effect. How many hopes and hurts

just today have I let stick? Imagine
them breezing through the aorta, imagine

them gliding through the brain, slipping through
the core of us, finding no purchase, no anchor.

Imagine the miracle that in any given moment
we don’t fall through our chair, our bed, the floor.

Imagine, permeable as we are, we still coalesce
enough to look at another, to see each other as whole.

We still manage to pick up the mesh of a phone,
succeed in moving our holey lips,

and hundreds of trillions of neutrinos later,
with total certainty, manage to promise a solid I love you.

Imagine, with these pervious hands
we might carry each other, might cradle

each other, might welcome each other home.

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Ephemeral Prayer

 

In five billion years, the hydrogen fuel

at the core of the sun will be spent.

Forces of gravity will take over,

compressing the core. The rest of the sun

will expand, vaporizing the earth.

I’ve studied the science, read the texts.

In the meantime, I live in a canyon

with rock walls one-hundred-fifty million years old—

and sometimes, like this morning,

despite rumors of doom,

the forces of gravity take over

and I fall on the floor laughing—

a riotous squealing and braying,

tears leaking, chest heaving,

grateful to big time for this very moment

when I am almost seamlessly joined with my shadow.

It rolls with me on the floor as I hoot and giggle,

praying in the language I know best.

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255px-Albert_Einstein_Head

 

*Dear readers: Sooooo. After really investing myself in the letter (linked below) and writing the poem below, I found out the letter is a fake. And I thought about just taking down the poem. And then I thought, well, even though Albert didn’t write the letter, I still believe in what it says. So I changed the title and made note here that the letter is fake. I guess my poem just turned into fan fiction??

 

*********** 

If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.

            —a fake letter from Albert Einstein, in a letter to his daughter, Lieserl

 

 

Thank you for your letter.

I know you wrote it

for a daughter,

but I read it as if

you wrote it for me.

 

You spoke of making a love bomb,

a device powerful enough

to entirely destroy the hate,

selfishness and greed

that devastate the planet.

 

I want to believe it’s possible.

Now. Somehow, because it is

your assertion, it feels

more possible than something

the poets propose.

 

But count me in. Let me help

verify your equation in which

the energy to heal the world

is obtained through love

multiplied by the speed of light squared.

 

Let the experiment begin

in my heart. Let me always

let love write the proof.

Let me find the infinite energy

inside me waiting to be released.

 

Let me be driven by love.

Let me remember everything

is in relation to everything else:

Planets in their orbits. A virus. Black holes.

How I meet the world. The bending of light.

 

*to read the full letter, click here

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Not that I want to be someone else,

just that I want to be less myself,

 

which is to say less the woman

who thinks she knows anything

 

about anything—gardening or writing

or skiing or parenting or loving—

 

I want to be less who I am and

more what a tree is, what a star is,

 

protons fused with other protons,

and the strong force that holds

 

particles together in the center of atoms,

and the weak force that breaks the atoms down,

 

and the electromagnetic force that binds

all molecules. Yes, this is how I want to meet you,

 

without a name, unencumbered by a me,

a collection of atoms and forces that rhyme

 

with you, linked as we are from the very beginning.

How easy it is then to say hello, to fall in love

 

with each other, the world.

 

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A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it.

            —Wikipedia

 

 

Perhaps black hole is just another word

for God—a force that pulls in everything,

regardless of how that everything looks or prays or votes.

A cup that runneth—not over, but ever in. A shepherd

so adept at shepherding that nothing—

no sheep, no man, no star, no dust—

could ever be lost in its spacetime pasture.

It creates communion, obliterates separateness.

In pictures, it’s a vision of still water.

In truth, it’s unable to be known.

A force that overwhelms all other forces.

It devours some, and in others spurs growth.

 

And what isn’t, I suppose, another word

for God: Ledger. Valley. Garden. Death.

Rhubarb. Rod. Human. Staff.

There is this gift to see the divine in everything.

There is this force that pulls the everything in.

Every particle. Every everything. Even (my god) the light.

 

 

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Missing

 

 

Hope is, perhaps, a quantum thing,

a paradox, like Schrödinger’s cat,

simultaneously alive and dead.

 

Today, I wandered the snowy field

and the icy banks and the shadowed wood,

calling the name of my sweet gray cat.

 

If I could find her now, I’d see

she’s either alive or dead.

But in this moment of uncertainty,

 

she’s both alive and dead to me.

I’m tugged by both possibilities as I wade

through tall dry grass. Oh damn that hope,

 

and bless it, too, how just a candle-measure

opposes a whole tower of unfounded certainty,

sends me out into the blizzard

 

calling her name, listening.

 

 

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Before you were born,

your hand had more muscles,

for instance the dorsometacarpales,

a reptilian remnant, an atavistic relic

from when all blood was cold blooded.

By the time you were thirteen weeks

in utero, a third of the muscles

in your hands and feet had fused

with other muscles. Your body

simply deleted them, proof

that before we are born,

before we are ready

to inhabit our forms,

we are in some ways

made less complex.

I think of this now as I open my hand

for your hand, think

of how much things change.

How once we had fins, then claws.

And now, look at us,

with hands that might caress,

might soothe, might reach.

God, this impulse to be warm.

And I think of how sometimes,

growth means to become more simple.

This is my prayer. To do

what the nascent body can do:

to remember where I came from,

to streamline, to know what is needed,

to know what to let go.

https://earthsky.org/human-world/Evolutionary-remnants-muscles-human-embryos

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It’s not adrenaline after all,

but the bones that tell the body

to fight, to freeze, to flee.

The bones send the hormone

that tells the heart to beat faster,

tells lungs to breathe quicker, tells glucose

to pump through the body as fuel.

The odd gift: the same bones

that tell us to run away

help us stand and see it through.

 

 

 

*

 

 

Check it out: https://phys.org/news/2019-09-bone-adrenaline-flight-response.html?fbclid=IwAR1FsGbaAaoLL5jB1esEouhf7E0SMLnSWwQDjh3hANvvqRNbXmhKGtDPmFw

 

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Priscilla the visayan warty pig

has learned to dig with a tool.

She digs with her nose, like all

 

other pigs, but then she’ll pick

up a stick or a scrap of bark

and use it to dig a hole.

 

It’s unprecedented—a pig

using a tool. And it gives me hope

that I, too, might evolve to acquire

 

something new—for instance,

an ability to understand sarcasm—

without which, studies say, I seem naïve.

 

Sarcasm, experts say, is most used

amongst people we love, despite the fact

that it comes from the Greek,
“to tear off flesh like dogs.”

Even a computer can comprehend

that sarcasm’s a tool for telling

 

true lies. So why am I so sincere?

Why does my right hemisphere not know

when “yeah, right” really means, “no way?”

 

Oh Priscilla, you inspiring visayan warty pig,

if you can evolve beyond your nature,

do you think perhaps I might? Yeah, right.

 

 

For more information about Priscilla and her science-tool-using prowess, visit https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/06/us/pigs-use-tools-study-scn-trnd/index.html

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Slowly Learning

 

 

 

Most days I wake with hope,

which is to say a willingness

to keep trying. Just tonight

I read the study about rats

where they put them in glass jars

full of water. Most of them quickly

stopped swimming and drowned,

even the wild rats renowned

for being good swimmers.

But with the next round of rats,

the researcher from time to time

would put his hand in the jar

and lift the rats out. Just knowing

such a lift were possible was enough

to make the rats continue to swim

and they survived. And I wonder,

then, whose hand is lifting me these days,

reaching just often enough into my jar?

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