Theories of Everything

POETRY FORMAT, 13 May 2019

Rebecca Elson – TRANSCEND Media Service

When the Lecturer’s Shirt Matches the Painting on the Wall

He stands there speaking without love
Of theories where, in the democracy
Of this universe, or that,
There could be legislators
Who ordain trajectories for falling bodies,
Where all things must be dreamed with indifference,
And purpose is a momentary silhouette
Backlit by a blue anthropic flash,
A storm on the horizon.

But even the painting on the wall behind,
Itself an accident of shattered symmetries,
Is only half eclipsed by his transparencies
Of hierarchy and order,
And the history of thought.

And what he cannot see is this:
Himself projected next to his projections
Where the colours from the painting
Have spilled onto his shirt,
Their motion stilled into a rigorous
Design of lines and light.


Rebecca Anne Wood Elson (2 Jan 1960 – 19 May 1999) was a Canadian–American astronomer and writer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy from Smith College, gained a master’s in Physics from the University of British Columbia, and attended Cambridge University where she received a PhD in astronomy. Elson did her postdoctoral work at the Institute for Advanced Study, after which she took up a Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe College in 1989, where she taught creative writing. Elson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 29 and died of the disease in Cambridge at the age of 39. (Wikipedia)



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 13 May 2019.

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