Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Poem About Gravity, and Some Heavy Thoughts

Ana Darcy Méndez, the extraterrestrial woman who came to earth from her planet thanks to the power of gravity, was delighted to find a poem about gravity, and the center thereof. She loved discussing it with her husband. Matt had to show her what a "military Jeep" was (which the poem points out had a high center of gravity), and he had to sketch a picture of an ottoman (which has a low center of gravity). Neither knew that "gravidanza" was the Italian word for pregnancy. Ana was amused by that, and also by the Spanish word for the same condition, "embarazada," which erroneously suggests "embarrassed" to an English speaker.

She was also intrigued by the connotations "gravity" has for human behavior--the absence of which, in a person, the poet calls "flightiness." These connotations are not present in Luvit, her native language, and discussing them constituted a mini-lesson in some of the fine points of English, yet another reason she enjoys poetry.

Earth astronomers, but far fewer of the general population, understand that the original elements of the universe were only three or so of the lighter ones. The more than a hundred heavier elements were generated in the furnaces of the stars, after the big bang. We humans, along with most of the Earth, including the animals and plants, are composed of these star-generated elements. Our elements are eternal: we are literally made of "star stuff," and our elements will be recycled, along with our planet, our sun, and our universe, in the immeasurable course of celestial time. Ana's people not only know this, they celebrate it. The Thoman epic poem about Ana, The Eternal Circle, exalts this process.

That's why Ana liked the conclusion of the poem, the notion that people should have a "center of gravity." She agrees with the poet that the end of life is the "most perfect center of gravity ever."

 The Center of Gravity. by Ron Padgett*
Target page taken down. Please see the workaround!

(See more of Ana's favorite poems in the column on the right, under the LOVE sculpture.)

No comments: