The Sassoon Collection
x. Particle Show
AND still they come and go: and this is all I know—
That from the mind I watch an endless particle-show,
Where wild and listless forces flicker on their way,
With charged and uncharged parts from small stringy strands
Because all spin so fast, and they’ve no place to stay
Beyond the frozen image of imagined lands.
And still, between the shadow and the image made,
The first desire of all of us flings onward, ever betrayed
As in those stimulant years that weight them, and have passed:
All minds must grasp these particles dancing much too fast.
– Zumwalt (2011)
Copyright © 2011
Why can it not last?
You’re like a rhyming haiku:
Too much, much too fast.
— Zumwalt (2011)
EDITORS NOTE: This particular short poem, received from Zumwalt last night via email, seems to have meaning at multiple levels, as one would expect. This quasi-haiku could be about one’s lifespan, the duration of a relationship, possibly the duration of a passionate encounter, or very possibly, due to Zumwalt’s interest in physics, about the relatively short life of a super-massive star, the brief duration of artificial atomic elements (like ununoctium which has a half life of less than a thousandth of a second) or the very brief duration of a subatomic particle (the Xi-sub-b referred to in “science delivers” lasts less than a billionth of a second.)
All that said, it seems the poem has some literal meaning, also. Zumwalt subscribed to an automated feed from a haiku blog. Soon Zumwalt was receiving one low quality haiku after another, each apparently written rather hastily. The final straw, it seems, was when Zumwalt received a rhyming haiku. This poem, along with Zumwalt “un-subscribing” to the automated hiaku feed, was the result.