“A coat of ashes” reviewed in Cordite

Book cover, 'A coat of Ashes' by JacksonPascalle Burton has written an enlightening and insightful review of my book A coat of ashes.

[Jackson’s] wager is that poetry, as mediator of spirituality and science, could provide deeper understanding about existing in a world of ecological and postcolonial turmoil. It seems to have paid off in this striking volume of work.

Order A coat of ashes from Recent Work Press.

The tiny echo

February 2016

Gravitational waves
were detected last week, I said.

What are they? she asked.

It’s Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, I said.
Think of space (spacetime, I should have said)
as a rubber sheet.
Where there are heavy things on it,
like stars and planets, it bends
downwards. That’s gravity.

Oh! she said. Of course!

Yes, like ripples, I said. Einstein predicted it
years ago, and now he’s been proved correct. Of course.

But gravity is very weak.
It takes something huge
to make a tiny echo.
They detected the tiny echo
of two black holes whomping together
(my two fists punched each other)
a billion years ago.

A billion years, she said.

Yes, I said. It’s all over the web.
Everyone knows.

I didn’t know, she said.

From A coat of ashes

On looking at the Pointers

It looks as if spatial distances do not exist for electrons.
— Michael Heller

O being
on Proxima B, are you
made of liquid
water and chains
of carbon? Hair,
feather, scale,
bark, or something else?
Photon sensors adapted
to Proxima’s red? What do you
call the Centaurs? How
do the constellations look
from there? Are you
looking back
at us, yellow Sol
in your sky? Have your
people, like mine, measured
the light-years, and counted
four? O being
on Proxima B, closest
exoplanetary soul
there’s likely to be,

is a lepton of my heart
entangled with a lepton
in yours (whatever you use
as a heart) from a time
when they could touch, way back
near the Beginning, in a dream
in which they touch, way in
at the Beginning? If so,

I send you love. Using
the top-down causality
of my organic complex system,

I spin my lepton to yin
so yours may spin to yang.
O being on Proxima B,
can you feel the sunshine?

From A coat of ashes.

Proxima B is a potentially Earth-like planet orbiting the star nearest us, Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf. Proxima Centauri is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It is the third star of the Alpha Centauri system, which is the “trailing” member of the two Pointers that accompany the Southern Cross. To the naked eye, Alpha Centauri looks like one star, but it is actually a triple. freestarcharts.com/alpha-centauri

The epigraph is from p. 258 of “Where Physics Meets Metaphysics”, pp. 238–277 of On Space and Time, edited by Shahn Majid, Cambridge University Press 2008.

Top-down causality: The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision, by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi, Cambridge University Press 2014, pp. 205–206.

The dappled shallows

They’ve put a waste pipe in the middle of our feeding grounds.
“They” is the humans. The waste pipe is their collective arsehole.
I know what it is because the dolphins called a meeting.

I want to swim with my shoal in the dappled shallows and chase the little fish.
I want to dance with a partner and lay the eggs somewhere safe and flit away.
I don’t know how to do anything more and I don’t want to have to learn.
I want to swim, swim, swim with my shoal and breathe delicious water.

But they’ve put a waste pipe in the middle of the dappled shallows.
The water is grey and smells like death and I don’t
know what to do. The dolphins don’t know, either.

First published in Creatrix 38, September 2017