On Newton

7 04 2010

A minor disappointment not to find
angels pushing the planets around their courses
as Leibnitz believed. A shame, but not a great one,
that the universe seemed less and less to hang
glimmering from God’s chain like a golden fob,
although a pendent weight shaped Newton’s thought.

Sitting alone there in that storied orchard,
he’d seen the apples drooping from their boughs;
until one formed, unplucked, a grand conclusion.
The apple fell because it had to fall,
as objects move toward objects, in accord.
It struck a dizzying tune into his head.

The clockwork of the heavens may make music,
but it was a grave music that he heard,
the whirl of mass, the hum of centrifuge,
and calculations on the page would prove
such motion both a falling and a flight.
Thus bodies spin each other round in space.

And gravity, too, becomes a kind of grace.

-Morri Creech, from “Some Notes on Grace and Gravity”, from the collection Field Knowledge


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