Poems fom Bangkok
(Although gravity was the first of the fundamental forces to be explained,
it remains today the least understood of all)
This strand of mystery, long and silent.
Two figures crouched in the sand,
Calculating as if their lives depend on it.
While the sun is in eclipse, both greyheads
Scribble diagrams and formulae,
Equations super-seding each other.
Much hangs in the balance: Newton and Einstein
Travel from opposite ends of theory
To hammer out the force of gravity.
In shadow behind the Cambridge don, Euclid
And his geometry, adequate for millenia.
Common sense Greek echoed by the 17th century:
The Earth is flat, parallel lines never meet.
Last of the alchemists, Newton defined gravity
As a force exerted by mass, proportional to distance.
The theory performed like clock work, ticking
For three centuries. His laws became parameters,
Christening much of the modern world.
Riemanns ghost hovers opposite (19th century
Geometer of curved spaces), guiding Einsteins
Hand, he slips a revolutionary clue.
Idling in the Basel Patent Office, shaggy-locks
Guessed gravity was not a force, but a wrinkle
Distorting the fabric of Spacetime itself.
He predicted it would bend light, hence
The masterminds meeting: to measure
If the eclipse deflects stellar sightlines.
Sir Isaac completes his tally, conceding
Defeat like a Restoration gentleman.
General Relatitivity stands unopposed.
It was Attraction which formed the seeds
Of galaxies. So too, it could collapse them
Into the Apocalypse of a “Big Crunch”.
Look at the cats cradle of formulae!
Fruit of physics for three hundred years,
Both agree: if they could detect a wave
Mass sending a ripple direct from the Big Bang,
Corrugating Spacetime itself, theyd be sure at last.
They freeze, waiting for the signal:
A gravity wave tolling
Through the hypersphere,
Hatching its shadow
In four dimensions
One million years ABT (106 yrs)
Energy and matter powerless
Amorphous because of the heat
Spellbound because of gravity,
Photons and electrons
Absorb each other
For a million years;
Swapping the same identity.
Conditions now less suffocating
And the strands relax, decouple.
They diverge as two insular forces
With tempers all of their own.
“Let there be light!”
Shout photons as they break free
And the cosmos becomes transparent;
If they had been there
To see it.