Thank you one and all!
FIVE SCIENTIFIC SONNETS
for unscientific occasions
The steely ribbons vanish as they meet
In some obscurely comprehended state
Toward which my curious, uneasy feet
Might hasten, but half welcome its retreat.
Meanwhile your train with loud belligerent haste
Pursues the focus back to where I wait,
But to no purpose. Standing face to face
The tracks, and we, shall keep our proper place.
We two shall run together side by side,
The ties between us neither love nor hate,
No wider by an inch, but no less wide,
Held at arm’s length by reticence, or pride;
Until the racing years outstrip the urge
To derail the cars of custom and converge.
CHANCE AND NECESSITY
Beauty? I’ve seen enough. It’s in our genes
To set us up as victor or as victim:
A cunning gash of crimson in a fly-trap;
Plumage to lure the hen, and then the hunter.
It’s integral to nature’s little jokes:
False eyes that flutter on a moth’s bright wing.
Lizards that alter colour with their company,
Old leaves that don the motley as they die.
No doubt. And yet I look at you with eyes
Washed clean of other faces, other bodies.
You arc a smile between us and my brain
Short-circuits, all my pretty theories staked
On loaded dice: Once in a million lies
Nature can throw a sport whose beauty’s true.
They call it middle age, a ripe condition
In which the body’s energy and girth
Are well disposed: a decorous fruition
Of forces too unruly since my birth.
The blood is off the boil, the sinew’s tension
Slackened a notch or two, as is the belt.
The proud old trouble-maker’s in declension,
A relic of an urge obliquely felt.
But sap’s on the rise again! A hot transfusion
Scalds its familiar course to every part
And cosmic forces enter in collusion
To serve a tardy summons on my heart.
What freshly minted torment is to be
The plunder and the price of ecstasy?
Wary, encapsulated, you pursue
The wayward spiral of your eccentric orbit.
Your hand extended touches me alive
And then retracts, tenuous, tenacious,
A slender fist clutching some particle
As souvenir; perhaps, when you’re alone,
To turn this way and that against the light,
A small enigma worth a moment’s musing.
Take it and welcome, girl! I’d not object
If curiosity should send you back
A dozen times or more to pillage from
This desolate terrain a hoard of trophies
Your fancy might assemble into some
Exotic asteroid you'd claimed for science.
“Perhaps we came together at some timeless meeting point,
irresponsible, irrepressible fellow-children of the universe.”
One glowing instant plummeting through space
At light-speed bears us radiant in its arc;
The stars are swallowed by our giddy pace
And disappear into the empty dark.
How swift we travel! In a blazing gyre
We’ll circumnavigate the rim of time,
Return, and reignite the astral fire
That launched us on the journey of this rhyme.
Are we too late? Is this our galaxy,
Burnt out, a whirl of cinders, cold and black?
No smouldering ember of the ecstasy
That spun us round the universe and back?
Then onward, fellow-traveller! Our flight
Has stolen with it all there was of light!