Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Two Pair" by Howard Nemerov

This poem by Howard Nemrov (1920-1991) uses scientific terminology in ways that seem especially deft:

   Two Pair

   More money's lost, old gamblers understand
   On two pair than on any other hand;

   And in the great world that may be the cause
   That we've two pair of First and Second Laws.

   The first pair tells us we may be redeemed,
   But in a world, the other says, that's doomed.

   In one, the First Law says; Nothing is Lost.
   The other First Law adds: But we are lost.

   One Second Law fulfills what spake the prophets;
   The other tersely states: There are no profits.

   Baffled between the Old Law and the New,
   What boots it to be told both sets are true.

   Or that disorder in the universe
   Is perfectly legal, and always getting worse?

"Two Pair" by first appeared in Nemerov's collection, The Western Approaches, and may also be found in Collected Poems.  Previous blog postings including work by Nemerov include March 24, April 12 (quotation) and August 16.

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