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Relativity poem

Posted by Arjendu on March 11, 2008

Here’s a poem from one of my students, Meaghan Foster.
I stand upon this face of earth, this cliff.
You speed by sudden, slender, contracted
like the quintessential caterpillar, afraid
that my outstretched arms will catch you tight.
We fear different things; we both think they are true.
I see you as you see me: shrinking, dissolving into this relative world.

If you accelerate away from me now, if you find another orbit
someday years later when you return
you may find me old and gray, closer to death than you—
having measured my life by different increments,
obeyed the ticking of another clock.

And when you have stretched the taffy surface of space-time to extremes,
when you have twined it supple and compliant round your firmly fleshed finger,
will you then (although, what is ‘then’ to us?)
will you then stay on earth as I blast away,
to wait until we are brought back into alignment
so that we may again meet at a coordinated intersection of time and space?

The other shoe will drop, be it by gravity or acceleration.
It makes no difference; the outcome will be the same.
Light will move at speed c—more constant than love
and sharing a reference frame will be but a dream.


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