POEM: Block of Time

some say time is a block —

a finished work,

not full on one side of the present and empty on the other —

all causes and effects are settled —

except the causeless first cause

and the effectless final cause

we worm our way through time

like a worm chomps through an apple,

rather than building a future along time’s arrow

POEM: Non-linear Time

you’ve clocked me on atomic time
dragged me below the water line
but you don’t know from whence I’ve come
blank, teary-eyed, and feeling numb

weary from my endless travel
my throat parched, the sound of gravel
still you pull from me a charred word
but it feels distant and absurd

somehow he thinks that he will find
somewhere among the broken time
a time shard that tells the story
lost city, ditched and hoary
weary wanderer drowned down there
pulled from green waters by his hair

“but who was the evil culprit!”
i once heard screamed from a pulpit
the funeral for a future me
i heard the word i could not see
found by some old man of means
who could see behind the scenes

but to know the truth, he could not
secrets hide in bits time forgot

POEM: Dream Time

Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

i saw a faceless clock tower

it lacked a mouth to shout the hours

and so it was that time stood still

precariously perched upon a hill

ready for some unsteadying force

to send it on a careening course

with the hapless village below

POEM: Tiny Window

That speck of sand
that you can barely see
is a planet to the particle
that sits on either side of it,

awaiting a wave form collapse.

Your mind can’t roam out
to the tip of the spiral arm–
let alone to the leading edge
of space as it accelerates into…

5 billion years or 5,000,
it’s all the same to you.

And anything less than
a microsecond isn’t worth
being called time–

[though it’s half a life time for muonium.]

Such a tiny window
through which to seek
the sum of all knowledge.

POEM: Time

  • Slow Time


A sweep second-hand betrays your modernity
A glint unrecognizable throughout eternity
Not all slow time dances out the same
Gooey time stretches to a break in the rain
Tom-toms string out in slow motion
Lost before the vastness of an ocean



  • Go Time


The massacred were buried shallow
Their murderers never saw the gallows
Legends said that ghosts rose up
Dead partaking of a proffered cup
To magically roll back the killing time
But clocks refuse to yield for crime



  • No Time


Running dumbly down the street
She bows to touch the guru’s feet
But the world is in chaos down
On the burned out side of town
Cashing checks for weekly wages
Stuck in time across the ages

DAILY PHOTO: 10:40pm in Helsinki

I could really get used to life in Helsinki from May through August. I’m not sure how anyone lives there in December though. I took this to record that it was after 2230 (10:30pm) when we finished dinner one evening. It’s not healthy to eat that late, but when it’s just hinting that it might get dark, it’s easy to lose track of time. This clock tower is on the side of the train station.

Taken in the Summer of 2011

Taken in the Summer of 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

Einstein's DreamsEinstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page

One might think that a novel written by a physicist would make for dreadful reading–and most of the time one would probably be correct. However, Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams is a fascinating read. The arc of the book–what makes it a novel rather than a series of short scenes–is conveyed by a prologue, a few interludes, and an epilogue. These brief sections show an Albert Einstein as he went about life trying to work out his special theory of relativity.

In between the interludes are a series of written sketches that depict dreams that might have been had by Albert Einstein between April 14th and June 28th of 1905. Each of these dreams depicts an alternative universe in which time is not experienced as we experience it: that is, as an inexorably flowing river with a clearly defined arrow. In one dream, time is circular. In another, a lifetime is compressed into a day. In another, there is no flow of time; the world is a snapshot. In another, immortality is the norm. In the latter dreams of the book, we see a convergence on time as we know it–though in dream-like abstraction.

This short book is both creative and well-written. Lightman excels at creating scene through vivid description. His approach to structure is unique.

One thing that might have improved the book is if the author had been a little bolder. Lightman feels the need to explicitly state what is going on in each dream world. However, his description is strong enough that such discussion is generally anti-climactic–one already knows how time is working (or not working) in a given universe before the author states it explicitly. Thus, these explicit descriptions succeed only in taking one out of the dream.

View all my reviews

POEM: Twisted Time

Six months a year
the river flows
away from the sea.
Entropy’s fall?


The fits and starts
of progress are
not rooted in
twisted time.

blacksmiths exist.
The hammer bounces
on the anvil


Ordered repetition,
until the steel begins
to bend and twist
and flex and tear.
It tears like taffy,
taffy glowing orange.


What is time for
that glowing rod?
The fire makes
its molecules
race and feud.

The hammer spreads
time into an eternity



Taken in Hungary in 2008

Taken in Hungary in 2008