Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gretel (and Gravity)

This story is just about Gretel –
Hansel, it seems, does not have the mettle,
Or the time, or ... Some lame excuse.
It begins as the midwife starts to induce
Peristaltic breadcrumbs settle
In the birth canal, and Gretel
Begins to follow the trail;
And so I retell the fairytale,
With Hansel on leave,
And gas and air to relieve
The pain ...

Once, there fell a great dearth
On a Godless elsewhere sphere,
And Gravity was led to Earth
And cruelly abandoned here;
Brought to this world from some other realm.
In the fairytale by Wilhelm
And Jacob Grimm,
Hansel leaves a trail to retrace;
But Gravity opted, absurdly, to skim
Her pebbles along the surface of space,
Unburdening herself, the silly oaf,
Before she had even set out,
And although she remembered to take a loaf,
She scattered her breadcrumbs about
Far too wide;
And when she was left on Earth, she cried,
For she realised her mistake;
And the world began to ache
Under the weight of her clasps.

I hear the dulcet gasps
Of people falling upwards!
Everything leaves the Earth, nothing sticks –
Gretel, who had been pressing on the cervix,
Falls upwards and is born through the crown of my wife's head;
And my wife, probably dead,
Trails behind in her dressing gown.
The shards of her punctured crown
Cut into Gretel's feet,
But, at once, the blood is dry,
And everyone in the Delivery Suite -
My wife, Gretel, the midwife and I -
Is decanted into outer space
At an imponderable pace ...
We leave behind the terra firma,
And having suffered with baroterma-
tismophobia since childhood,
Being constantly told that gravity could
Never possibly cease,
Now that it’s finally vacated …
O' the release -
I feel vindicated!
The Earth is deciduous, after all,
And we are its leaves, except we fall
Upwards, come the season.

So, what can be the reason?
Why has Gravity left our planet?
To go back home? How can it?
No pebble was dropped, and every crumb
Was thrown astray …
He who abandoned Gravity has come
Back to collect the castaway,
To lead her back to the dimension
From whence she came,
Causing this cataclysmic ascension.

Now, I suppose you might claim
That gravity is a universal law:
“Being everywhere, all over, at once,
It is omnipresent. Therefore,
To say it could ever ensconce
On our Earth, alone, is a falsehood.
Beyond the grove of our neighb-
Gravity is a babe
Lost in the wood
Of ubiquity,
If lost at all;
But the thrust of my objection
Is: how is it possible to fall -
Upwards, downwards, or in any direction -
Once gravity has gone,
When falling, itself, is dependent on
This universal law;
And when, in fact, ‘falling’ is just another word for
‘Gravitational force’
(Like ‘autumn’, of course,
Is another word for ‘fall’)?!”

Oh, why be so quizzical?
Thoughts, though very, very small
Are physical,
And the fact my wife was able to fall
Upwards in your imagination, at least,
Means she did, and gravity ceased,
And that is why she fell …

“Gravity is lost in sylvan om
Not merely flitting from
Earth to the silver crescence
Of our moon, like a moth,
Making our oceans froth
And bulge with tides:
It is everywhere else besides!”

The Earth yields its impedimenta,
And we are no longer seeking the centre
In accordance with the centripetal force:
We fall upwards, and the course
We follow through space is lined
With the kind of hairs you find
On a nettle, though we slide
Upwards from the underside,
Avoiding getting stung …
We see strange, torpid stars among
The other stars in the cosmos -
Matte stars, lacking gloss -
And the midwife tells me that those
Are the itchy white hives that arose
Through brushing against the nettle …

We fall upwards, following Gretel,
Delivered and exalted,
Dressed in the rags of her afterbirth,
And the canyons of heaven are filled with the salted
Waters uprooted from Earth.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wherever there is mass, there is gravity … even in dried fruit:
"If ever gravity was repealed,
Earth would not then simply yield
Its impedimenta,
For there is gravity even at the centre
Of Earth, and its force is transmitted
At the centre of cherries, prunes and dates,
Pitted or unpitted -
Gravity is everywhere, and it operates
Within, throughout and inside,
Never to be defied;
And, according to a recent article
In a reputable journal,
Even a subatomic particle
Is likely to contain a kernel
Of gravity.
Eternally saddled
With mass,
If gravity skedaddled,
What events would come to pass,
What quagmires would ensue?
If gravity were no longer around,
Would mass disappear too,
Or turn, perhaps, into a profound

Here is the song version

Another related song, here