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Poems by Hilde Weisert

Hilde Weisert is co-founder of this Society. "Imagination Itself" and "Guesswork, Scientists, Poets, and Bees" are both included in her 2015 collection, The Scheme of Things, from David Robert Books. Visit her at www.hildeweisert.com.

In our class, "Imagination Itself" is used in conjunction with the theme, Why write? and "Guess Work, Scientists, Poets, and Bees" with the theme, Being a scientist.

Imagination Itself

     To the eyes of a man of imagination,
     Nature is imagination itself.
          -William Blake

Who needs half a million unpronounceable forms of life
Half a world away? Ah, you do, they say,
And enumerate the ways:

Glues, dyes, inks,
Peanuts, melons, tea,
Golf balls, paint, and gum,
Mung beans, lemons, rice,
And a fourth of all the medicines you take,
And a fifth of all the oxygen you breathe,
And countless life-prolonging secrets their wild cousins know
to tell the Iowa corn and the garden tomato.
And if that's not enough, think of rubber-
and where we'd all be, rattling down the Interstate
on wooden wheels.

And that's only the stuff we know how to use,
And that's only the half-million species we know how to name.

And in the time it took to tell you this
Five thousand acres more are gone.
And by the time that this year's kindergarten class
is thirty-five, most of what is now alive—

But wait.  What if — What if this deluge of mind-boggling
statistical connectedness were, true as it is,
only the least of it? What if the real necessity
were of another kind, the connection
Not with what you consume, or do, but who you are?

— With your own imagination, the necessity there
of places that have not been cleared to till,
of the luxury of all that buzzing in the deep,
of a glimpse of feather or translucent insect wing
a color that's so new it tells you light and sound
are, indeed, just matters of degree, and makes your vision hum

And makes you think the universe could hum
in something like the wild, teeming equilibrium
of the rain forest.

Guess Work, Scientists, Poets, and Bees

For a high school physics class
studying the relationship between
Science & Poetry

It comes seemingly out of the blue
For both of them — poet's metaphor, scientist's guess —
The chance that may resonate
In mathematics, or in observation.

Take Newton's sizzling leap — apple,
Moon — the line of force between
As suddenly straight as the moon's
Curving path, as true as What if

Circling's just another way to fall,
To go straight ahead in two directions,
All the time forever?

Imagine this: A topsy-turvy world
Where Fall begins the year,
And commencement is the end;

Where we're commended to be fruitful
When the light's most thin, and quit
When trees have just begun to leaf —

In this world, paradox-riddled at the core,
Would Keats' bees — ahum
In lazy, busy summer work
At autumn flowers — be wrong

To think warm days will never cease?
Would we, to join them - and the scientist
And poet — in the pleasure

Of a world where work is play,
And the bright guess (secret ratio) reveals
What we ought to take the measure of?

After all, it's not the moon alone
That we shall never see the same
Since Newton's guess, but the apple

Itself, forever changed in its bright Fall
Roundness, by Calculus
As much as by the cider-press.

More poems by Hilde Weisert on this site and at www.hildeweisert.com


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