This is a collection of poetry that makes me go "oof."
You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.
— Aaron Freeman, “You Want a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral”
I thought leaving you would be easy,
just walking out the door
but I keep getting pinned against it
with my legs around your waist and it’s like
my lips want you like my lungs want air,
it’s just what they where born to do so
I am sitting at work thinking of you
cutting vegetables in my kitchen
your hair in my shower drain
your fingers on my spine in the morning
while we listen to Muddy Waters, I know
you will never be the one I call home
but the way you talk about poems
like marxists talk of revolution
it makes me want to keep trying.
I’m still looking for reasons to love you.
I’m still looking for proof you love me.
— Clementine von Radics (via clementinevonradics)
My Mother’s HandsHow you have spun whole worlds for
me between your fingers, cupped palms.
How you fed me, clothed me, taught me
the shape of trees and bodies and how
to brush my hair without hurting myself,
how I breathe only because you allowed
me to grow in your womb. Thank you for
the bed in your belly, mom. I am sorry for
the pale white scar on your abdomen,
for how I refused to let go, so they forced
you to let go of me first. I am sorry, too,
that I am not going to school to be a doctor
or a lawyer or some kind of engineer, but
your support is like the sun. Crucial. So
this is for your hands, those star-shaped
things that extend outward from your wrists,
that held me, that carried me, that love me.
You said I left scars on your hands, the
good kind that remind you of how things
were. When you open them and hold them
up to the light, I can see the faint outline
of a smaller heart in your palms. You smile,
close your fists. Tell me to never love
anyone without seeing their hands first.
The questions I would have liked to ask people were: ‘Are you in love? What are you reading?’
— Françoise Sagan, “A Certain Smile”
kisses are a better fate
— e.e. cummings
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
— Pablo Neruda
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. Once I understood each word the caterpillar said. Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings, and shared a conversation with the housefly in my bed. Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets, and joined the crying of each falling, dying flake of snow. Once I spoke the language of the flowers… How did it go? How did it go?
— Shel Silverstein
Always learn poems by heart. They have to become the marrow in your bones. Like fluoride in the water, they’ll make your soul impervious to the world’s soft decay.
— Janet Fitch
As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.
— Anne Sexton