The Sunday Poem: Margaret Randall... Imagined, Unseen

On 4 July 2012, the CMS and the ATLAS experimental teams at the LHC independently announced that they each confirmed the formal discovery of a previously unknown boson of mass between 125–127 GeV/c2, whose behaviour so far has been "consistent with" a Higgs boson.

Margaret Randall will be reading this afternoon at Alamosa Books.  This reading, which is the reading of poets published this year in Gary Brower's  brilliant Malpais Review runs from 2:00 to 5:00. 

Imagined, Unseen

In Geneva they’re popping champagne corks.
London and Brussels,
Princeton and Melbourne follow suit.
The Higgs boson may have showed itself
at last: key to understanding
why elementary particles have mass.
God particle explains diversity
and why things stick together.

Diversity remains illusive in the high thin air
of the Peruvian Andes
where a woman lights a candle
at her village church.
She does not celebrate.
Her infant daughter is gone
and now her prayer
is for the child’s soul.

Without Higgs, say the physicists,
all elementary forms of matter
would dance madly
at the speed of light,
streaming through us
like moonbeams or unruly ideas.
Neither atoms nor this seen world
satisfy our questions.

At a mass grave, Guatemalan evidence
of genocide,
second third and fourth generations
demand an end to impunity.
A skull fragment or bit of blood-caked shirt
are knots on a memory string.
No celebration here.
No champagne. No elegant equations.

The new particle weighs in at 125 billion
electron volts.
This boson, imagined but unseen for decades,
reaffirms a universe
ruled by symmetry.
Everything interesting
(including ourselves)
is due to flaws in the Standard Model.

Dark energy like dark weather
alters the paradigm.
In Sudan lost children walk again.
Cambodia’s Killing Fields hold memories
too real to store in manageable volts.
In Geneva they’re popping the corks.
Champagne tastes flat
upon the tongue.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 142

Comment by BARBARA BYERS on August 19, 2012 at 9:53am

You take the things we are "discovering" and coming to understand and sew us to what we know with in our thoughts and memories. Thanks, always, for stitching my world together.

Comment by Izquierdo on August 19, 2012 at 7:21pm

A poetic examination of dark energy. Good, too.  We are certainly on the cutting edge. Or the brink. I'd like to hang around here for another decade to see how things develop on Mars if not with the God particle. Maybe we'll get more news before the Mayan calendar runs out.

Comment by Dee Cohen on August 20, 2012 at 7:36am

Well done Margaret. As always, you manage to beautifully pinpoint the ongoing struggles of those who desperately need our attention, The Champagne-less. Thank you, Dee

Comment by Margaret Randall on August 26, 2012 at 6:47am

Many thanks to those who left comments. It's always good to know you are reaching someone.


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