One of the great things about writing this blog is the people who have -- out of the blue and across the miles -- sent along a great poem or tidbit. One of the valuable contributors is Tim Love, a British computer guy and poet -- and also a blogger (at LitRefs). The mysterious concept of "Action at a Distance" drives this Love poem:
Action at a distance by Tim Love
Newton was quite wrong
we discovered in the end,
but he got us to the moon and back
and of course words aren't the world
but they take us where we want to be,
not with transistors or warp drive but
as our son blows gunsmoke from his fingertip,
uncertainty creeps over me, like a feeling
that I'm being watched, and your 'Well?'
informs me that I missed your last question,
and he's fallen, he's playing dead,
though he doesn't know I'm watching.
You touch my shoulder. 'What's wrong?'
As his eyes half open they're staring
straight at me. 'Nothing.'
But the babysitter's let us down again,
and on a booked table somewhere,
candles are being blown out.
"Action at a distance" is found in Love's collection Moving Parts (HappenStance , 2010). A recent link forwarded to me by Tim offers an article, "Optimization and Optimism," in which Michael Bartholomew-Biggs tells of his use of poetry in textbooks he has written. Bartholomew-Biggs also shows his good taste when he mentions the anthology, Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me.