Saturday, January 12, 2013

Because the mind circles an idea

Besides eight books of poetry and a memoir, California poet Lucille Lang Day has co-authored a textbook, How to Encourage Girls in Math and Science -- a book of activities for teachers and parents to encourage students from kindergarten through eighth grade.  Her close connection to mathematics and science is evident in the following poem.

Because     by Lucille Lang Day

My heart will beat two billion times
because Krishna plays his flute in the forest
because the planets trace elliptical orbits
because Krishna's skin is blue
because a moon will fly in a straight line forever
unless a planet snares it
the way a woman attracts a man with her gaze 

I yearn for a touch to make me tremble
because Krishna dances ecstatically
because the laws of motion are the same
on earth as in the heavens
because Krishna loves the cowherd wives

My completeness is an open question
because the statement "I am in motion" is meaningless
because electrons in motion create a magnetic field
because Krishna makes love with twelve women at once
because Krishna has twenty-four arms to caress him
because electricity and magnetism are one

I am no longer a desert lily
because the speed of light is the same for all observers
because Krishna marries the princess Rukmini
although Radha is his favorite gopi
because the order of two events can be different
for observers on opposite sides of space

My edges are rough as the bark of a redwood
because two events cannot be reversed
unless they can be simultaneous
because Krishna serves as charioteer for Arjuna
because causality flows in one direction
because Krishna's brother and son are slain

The moment must be held like an emerald
because the fabric of space is woven in four dimensions
because a huntsman shoots an arrow into Krishna's heel
because a planet travels the straightest path
through the mountains and canyons of space-time
the way the mind circles an idea
because the heart traverses the curvature of blue

In sleep I hold hands with my lover
because time runs slower where gravity is stronger
because the arrow kills Krishna
because I cannot die before I am conceived
because love is an abstract concept
because a field loves the sun
because a lake reflects the sky
because human love reflects the divine

"Because" is found in Day's collection, The Curvature of Blue (Cervená Barva Press, 2009).  Day's website also includes other poems from this collection, including "Counting."  An earlier posting for this blog, on 18 May 2010, includes her poem, "Infinities." 

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