By Alan Lightman
In Alan Lightman's new booklet, a verse narrative, we meet a guy who has misplaced his religion in all issues following a mysterious own tragedy. After many years of residing "hung like a dried fly," emptied and haunted via his previous, the narrator awakens one morning revitalized and starts a Dante-like trip to discover anything to think in, first turning to the area of technological know-how after which to the realm of philosophy, faith, and human existence. As his own tale is slowly printed, bit by bit, we confront the nice questions of the cosmos and of the human middle, a few questions with solutions and others with out.
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Additional info for Song of Two Worlds
Numbered the barrels of olives, The crates of pocked oranges, The kilos magnesium sulfate, the times Of the shippings, the paychecks, the days ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ 33 Without rain – all of it kept In these columns and rows. Great Lavoisier, bony nosed, Eyes far apart, silent, Preferring your textbooks to play – You were the master of measuring. You were the ruthless accountant Of chemical quantities, Reckoning mass never vanished Despite changing form. With your scale and your balance, Your cylinders, candles, and bellows, You tallied the weights of the world.
It empties me. Is it the song that my mother once sang? Or the sound of the car waiting in rain On that last windy night? And then it is gone, hushed as it came, Shapeless, unmeasured, unmeasurable, Leaving me still in the late afternoon. 54 In the mirror, I gaze at the road Rushing past and behind, Hurl myself over the sand While the desert unfolds like a roll Of brown paper, air breaks With the swoop of the bustards. I want to remember The small crusty town and the prefect Who yammered and pinched his bent nose, Smell of cooked lamb in the dusk, Reason I went there.
40 Abbas and I shovel sheep dung, My olive trees hunched Like a throng of old men – ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ 38 Sun overhead, I look up And I gaze at the clouds – This is the way that I see: Ten trillion photons of light make their way Through my pupils each second of time, Through the oval-shaped lens, through The jelly-like ﬁll to the retina, hundreds Of millions of cells, where each photon Of light meets a molecule, retinene, coaxing It straight from its twisty vine, Curled bougainvillea-like. Neurons Respond to the dance.
Song of Two Worlds by Alan Lightman