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Newton said there is no choice; this weakest

natural force still draws all things, relentless.


Apples, stones, my lucent porcelain fall

with the same force as the Moon falls, too


but Newton stood on giants' shoulders to claim

that Moon's slight elliptic – the tug askew,


a wobble in a perfect path–

saves Moon and Earth from mutual death


though most lopsided stunts, like mine,

end more bleakly.  Further back,


Archimedes dreamed a fulcrum to pry

the Earth (as flat then as this table)


out of gravity’s greedy grasp. Unaware

of Osiris' scales; the weight of longing;


a heart’s fulcrum to Maat’s feather;

the Greek took credit for defining


this angled affront to gravity:

Eureka moment. Yet his body fell,


obeying all laws, when chaos conquered

Syracuse; gravity's theory swept underground.


Copernicus balled things up by relocating “down” –

showed Earth no more central than one’s point of view:


our minor orbits, in the thrall of Something More,

dance through empty space; we cede the center.


The gravitas of prudent speech quashed his theory;

his first edition a deathbed attendant.


Soon  it, too, perished– and Science stayed

in proper orbit ‘round Church and State.                              


Kepler strained to keep celestial spheres

in perfect rounds of perfect tones, but numbers


slashed his mystic hope to shreds; he killed

what he had loved. By relocating gravity


in Sun’s great mass, he fixed Copernicus

in Science’s celestial sphere. His own life


less than heavenly: weighed down by thirteen

children, war, his mother’s witchcraft trial –


he wrote of one who travelled to the moon

in dream – described the surface as it was


and so, who knows? It took Sir Isaac

to break us free; set gravity amid


the laws of motion; absolute perfection

of a clock-work Universe.




Gravity alone disturbs so little,

but its stubborn grasp creates a risk


in every motion, however slight.

My teetering describes an arc


of possibility – who of us

can say what sends us past the edge? As slight


a difference as the weight of shadow; camel’s

straw; the avalanchial snowflake.


Einstein’s pencil pushed the world into

relativity – nothing still; no motion absolute


except the speed of light. This table’s rest

seems so because I wobble; earth’s unfelt


spin must still be factored in. Time

passes slow or fast depending on


the speed of motion – does this explain

why time slows down at descending’s end?              


Einstein’s theories made Newtonians see red,

but light bent to his will, revealing gravity


in starlight – and the dark of matter, too.

The grave threat bursting from an atom’s heart


a red-shift toward a darker time. Dust

to dust... his ashes scattered to the wind.


Richter put deep thought into the whys

of quaking ground – how earth can ripple


just like water, liquifying solid clay;

as sudden as love or death. Our balance


relative, ignored – presumed –  until it's lost.

And continents can drift, and lives– 


shuddering asunder, grinding to a halt.

Shards of lives – the gravel on which we live.


Since then, the swarm of physicists, those

who snoop out bits unseen, declared all solids


to be full of emptiness – all

our atoms vast plains of lonely Nothing.


What falls if nothing’s there? The quantum

querists hunt down and exculpate


electrons of their very existence:  wave,

particle –   it’s all the same, until


you look. And those who look tomorrow

will find them as fragmentary as


my future self.