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The universe is touchy-feely
in the hands of Professor al-Khalili.
Dark matter lightens, quasars dim
under the deft caress of Jim.
He orders a few red balloons.
Lo! Particles play loony tunes
and chase old Einstein off the stage
for milliseconds (E’s the sage
whose still accepted authorised version
caused a fine visual-aid excursion).
It seems for this we have to thank
the bleaker vision of Max Planck.
One of the things Jim does so well
is righting wrongs by the Nobel
Committee who will be sent to toil
shirtless through winter for Fred Hoyle.
Bald and smart-casual (perhaps Boden?),
Jim leads a younger group up Snowdon
to weigh themselves and demonstrate
what gravity’s wire does to your weight.
At school three hundred years ago
I hated Science (stinks, you know).
Occasionally, and through the fog
of memory, genitals of the frog
loom; pickled, too, for vivisection
and unconducive to erection . . .
Ugh. But quanta I do adore.
Imagine supper with Niels Bohr!
And my wife’s Munich family
knew Heisenberg! He’d come to tea
on Tuesdays though, alas, pre-me.

Darwin and Alan Turing and
Daniel Dennett form a band
to set our cosmic feet a-tapping.
No galaxy catches Khalili napping
nor even Dawkins’ selfish gene
can find a thing to say that’s mean
about this lively pedagogue
who looks like an Aristophanic frog
made happy by such unbridled love
for grains of sand and heavens above,
who laughs at his own propensity
to tamper with the Critical Density
and bring his Psalms to you and me
via cyberspace and the BBC.
Even that oddball, William Blake,
who found Newton so hard to take,*
would celebrate Khalili, who
believes Big Bang’s a cosmic screw,
a burst of four-dimensional lust,
a physical-metaphysical gust
delivering Life. Ourselves. Stardust.

Grey Gowrie

*Here I am indebted to—an ancient Auden clerihew.


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Greg Murphy
September 11th, 2017
3:09 PM
Beautiful work. More please!

Bestrice O'Malleynonymous
August 31st, 2017
7:08 PM
Swashbuckle on! Your poems speak to me.

Beatrice O'Malleyonymous
August 31st, 2017
7:08 PM
Duende. When art reaches out and pulls one in. Yes!

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