Zumwalt Poems Online

Three Americans Share 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics

Poems on the runaway universe:

The Runaway Universe by C.W. Johnson

Runaway Universe

The Expanding Universe


And from Zumwalt:


(Due to a few long lines, I was challenged with properly formatting this in the original post. Below is an unformatted version, still different from the original but more aligned with the website layout, perhaps.)


She radiates brilliance based on fine features, good form and skillfully applied cosmetics.
He balances confidence and accessibility with an unerring certainty of success.
The universe is expanding,
Inflation rampant,
Stretching everything more than any yoga instructor would allow.

Our planet is stuck in motion at hundreds of thousands kilometers per second.
I stock up on Dramamine and Ginger Ale.

She worries that she will never see him again.
He is lost in the business of the day.
These galaxies race away from us faster than the speed of light
And are accelerating more each trillionth of a second.

Some Alien out there has calculated that this is the last week to DVR an episode of the Game of Thrones before losing all contact.
Some Star Watcher is now stuck with a static picture of this faraway galaxy from here on out.

She is not simply a set of particles: she is moving very fast.
In relation to her changing position in space, he is moving even faster.

This universe is not stable;
It strays too far from itself
Running away from a past that was too small.

This universe is accelerating
As if it has immunity from moving violations
Or has appropriately mounted a very good radar detector.

One day her particles and his
Will dance tumultuously in the debris encircling some infant sun
Or get pulled into a black hole.

She radiates,
He balances,
The universe inflates,
Stretching everything way beyond belief
And ultimately, slightly out of reach.

— Zumwalt (2011)


Comments on: "Congratulations, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess" (16)

  1. I like this , If I understood it I would like it even better !! winks smiles and wonders off singing !! XX


    • LOL! I don’t understand the physics — I sort of get the idea that universe is expanding faster and faster — I think Zumwalt probably would give a nice explanation of dark energy, etc. but beyond my knowledge.


  2. Masterful metaphor. I love the line, “This universe is not stable;
    It strays too far from itself”. Great poetry!


    • P.S. I realize “metaphor” isn’t the right word here – more of a perspective/comparison between the mundane and cosmic expansion. Whew! Hard to find the right words…. but takes my breath away.


      • Betty,

        I think maybe you were spot on with the metaphor comment. I think the poet is using this as a metaphor — not sure if for one’s personal universe or for the spirit or something else — but I think it is a metaphor for something like that. But this seems to work well enough at the literal level also to be entertaining.


  3. i always found physics fascinating..and i was drawn into your lines like into a black hole…really great poem..i haven’t enough background knowledge but this stirred me to dig a bit deeper..thanks..


  4. claudia,

    Thanks much! The first link provides some information. This is a very interesting topic.


  5. one of a kind..makes me wonder whether you believe in eternal recurrence or not.The universe might collide back on itself when it reaches the final extent to which it can be expanded.:)


    • aveek13,

      Thanks for the comment. I can’t speak for what Zumwalt thinks, but from the little I know of this, the most commonly held scientific belief is that the universe will continue to expand more and more rapidly with the very fabric of matter being pulled apart. I think, if I understand this correctly, dark energy will now allow the force of gravity from regular matter and dark matter to slow down the expansion let alone be able to cause a collapse.

      I did receive a poem via email from Zumwalt earlier in this year that references various cosmologies, but was asked not to publish due to potential revision. I suspect it has a deeper meaning, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by the physics of which I really have little understanding of.


  6. the world is ever changing. amazing poem zum. your poems are truly fantastic and well crafted.


  7. spectacular thinking writing – building concepts – a poem that says
    hello to real poetry – think – layered to perfection – asking all the
    right questions – which we will never really know the answers to
    only our own
    “i once sacrificed the past and the future for the now”
    no paycheck – no me?
    submission – or omission.


  8. Your poems are fascinating, i wrote one like this a few years back, yes the vast universe holds a perplexing mystery…the answers are “ultimately, out of reach”


  9. S Basu, Cynthia and Cynthia Ann,

    Thanks for reading and commenting!


  10. Dig this.

    On so many levels.

    “One day her particles and his
    Will dance tumultuously in the debris encircling some infant sun
    Or get pulled into a black hole.”

    This verse particulary. So good.


  11. Thank you for being yoou

    Liked by 1 person

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