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Wednesday, 15 February 2017


The Laws of Physics

(for B.)

I twisted what I had to say
and crammed it into words
but it was a poor fit
and my feelings spilled out
over the edges and into the air.

But what needs to be said is there.
Everything is somewhere.

16 October 1989
This poem covers much the same ground as ‘The Bypass’ (#685). I’ve always enjoyed treating metaphysical things as if they were physical objects and words as containers is one I come back to in ‘Messages’ (#741) and probably others. And I definitely mention it in The More Things Change: “[W]e imbue things with meanings; we fill them up and keep our fingers crossed they don’t leak.”
The law I’m referring to in this poem is the law of conservation of energy which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another. Love is not sentiment or emotion, it is a force. So say some—just type “love is a force” into Google. If it is a force then it ought to obey certain metaphysical rules. A force is a push or pull upon an object resulting from the object's interaction with another object. Whenever there is an interaction between two objects, there is a force upon each of the objects. If that is true of physical objects what about metaphysical ones?
When B. and I were in close proximity to each other something… magical happened. Physicists don’t have much time for magic but what about metaphysicists? Energy that’s 'wasted', like the heat energy from an electric lamp, doesn’t simply disappear. Instead, it’s transferred into the surroundings and spreads out so much that it becomes very difficult to do anything useful with it. Devices can be set up to try to minimise the waste and that’s really what this poem is, a filter that managed to capture a trace of something now lost.


vito pasquale said...

Energy: A wonderful metaphor for love, Jim.

The words can't ever seem to fit the feelings which are so very real. Everything is different when in the kind of relationship you've described with B. The importance of getting the words right is never higher. Does the chance of success decrease as the emotional content increases? Probably not. But still, when the stakes are high perhaps we choose the words too carefully.

Jim Murdoch said...

Of course the real problem here, Vito, is that everything I might’ve said to her could’ve been misconstrued. I could’ve told her I loved her. I did love her. I still do. But what kind of love? When a man tells a woman he loves her it’s usually code for, “I want to sleep with you,” which wasn’t the case. Now, if B. had come on to me would I have gone for it? I’m sorry to say I would’ve. In a heartbeat. But to be totally honest I’d’ve been happy with a cuddle and the nearest I got to that is covered in my notes to ‘The Empath’ (#712) but you’ll have to wait on that. You can say so much with a touch. Maybe I’m just not very good at it but I’ve never found sex communicates anything with any accuracy.

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