Spring Dance

In a spin with Spring,
the steps would begin
with March,

windy, blustery, biting,
but it wouldn’t be long
before we’d bump into a bird song,

the first of the season,
a robin, I think,
or maybe a wax wing,

the notes echoing
over half-melted snow
when suddenly we notice the sun,

and a crocus stretching
to see what’s going on,
just bursting to bloom,

the scent
of an innovative lilac
precociously early

no doubt tired
of being shut out
by daffodils.

In no more than a hop,
skip and jump,
the season surrounds us.

When did the snow go?
I don’t know
but I notice

the grass is now green,
a jeté
that remembers no cold.

Free from Gravity

for  Stephen Hawking
January 08, 1942 – March 14, 2018

~       ~      ~     ~     ~     ~    ~     ~      ~
You could not speak
nor move your limbs,
Imperfect as we saw you,
you were a child of God.

You were no accident
of some inept potter’s wheel,
you were a vessel
designed to house a brain,

and a heart, and
a soul, no doubt about it. You
were gifted with childlike wonder and
an ironclad will … and humor.

For all the relativity
of your quantum quarks,
(Oh what a universe, your mind!)
you struggled to know the mind of God.

A Brief History of Time, you said
was most bought, least read book
of all time. I bought it
and read it again and again,

Stretching my understanding
with each read, and even then
I felt my limitations, and amazement
at each new equation.

Through all the pages, understood and not,
it was clear you were looking for God.
At last you have found him;
at last you’re free from gravity.

.

.

” Hawking’s run of radical discoveries led to his election in 1974 to the Royal Society at the young age of 32. Five years later, he became the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, arguably Britain’s most distinguished chair, and one formerly held by Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage and Paul Dirac, the latter one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics.

Hawking’s seminal contributions continued through the 1980s. The theory of cosmic inflation holds that the fledgling universe went through a period of terrific expansion. In 1982, Hawking was among the first to show how quantum fluctuations – tiny variations in the distribution of matter – might give rise through inflation to the spread of galaxies in the universe. In these tiny ripples lay the seeds of stars, planets and life as we know it.

But it was A Brief History of Time that rocketed Hawking to stardom. Published for the first time in 1988, the title made the Guinness Book of Records after it stayed on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for an unprecedented 237 weeks. It sold 10m copies and was translated into 40 different languages. Nevertheless, wags called it the greatest unread book in history. ”

Excerpted from an article in The Guardian

The Owl Critic by James Fields

circa 1906

“Who stuffed that white owl?”

No one spoke in the shop,
The barber was busy, and he couldn’t stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The “Daily,” the “Herald,” the “Post,” little heeding
The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion;
And the barber kept on shaving.

“Don’t you see, Mr. Brown,”
Cried the youth, with a frown,
“How wrong the whole thing is,
How preposterous each wing is,
How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is —
In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck ‘t is!
I make no apology;
I’ve learned owl-eology.

I’ve passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
And cannot be blinded to any deflections
Arising from unskilful fingers that fail
To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.
Mister Brown! Mr. Brown!
Do take that bird down,
Or you’ll soon be the laughingstock all over town!”
And the barber kept on shaving.

“I’ve studied owls,
And other night-fowls,
And I tell you
What I know to be true;
An owl cannot roost
With his limbs so unloosed;
No owl in this world
Ever had his claws curled,
Ever had his legs slanted,
Ever had his bill canted,
Ever had his neck screwed
Into that attitude.
He can’t do it, because
‘Tis against all bird-laws.

Anatomy teaches,
Ornithology preaches,
An owl has a toe
That can’t turn out so!
I’ve made the white owl my study for years,
And to see such a job almost moves me to tears!
Mr. Brown, I’m amazed
You should be so gone crazed
As to put up a bird
In that posture absurd!
To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness;
The man who stuffed him don’t half know his business!”
And the barber kept shaving.

“Examine those eyes
I’m filled with surprise
Taxidermists should pass
Off on you such poor glass;
So unnatural they seem
They’d make Audubon scream,
And John Burroughs laugh
To encounter such chaff.
Do take that bird down;
Have him stuffed again, Brown!”
And the barber kept on shaving!

“With some sawdust and bark
I could stuff in the dark
An owl better than that.
I could make an old hat
Look more like an owl
Than that horrid fowl,
Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather.
In fact, about him there’s not one natural feather.”

Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch,
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
Walked around, and regarded his fault-finding critic
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic,
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say:
“Your learning’s at fault this time, anyway:
Don’t waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
I’m an owl; you’re another. Sir Critic, good day!”
And the barber kept on shaving.

Art is Easy if the Light is Right

(Dedicated to the amazing artists at Doodlewash.com
They must always paint in the right light; their paintings
are never flat.)

I looked at Picasso’s
seamless abstract

and thought
“I can do that”

I already have
a smock and a hat

(a beret,
as they say)

He used lots of blue pigment
so I bought some

but still
my painting was flat.

Well, Hush!
Look at his fine sable brush…

I bought one
but when I was done

something
still seemed wrong

Hmmm, It must be
the slant of the sun.