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Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states that we cannot know a particle's position and momentum at the same time because to measure one is to change the other; in shining a light or electron beam on something to observe it, the observer thereby changes it. This poem is largely a meditation on that idea as well as the nature of illusion and how much we rely on it. The last line asks WHERE were you (God, destiny, a friend, a lover?) when the principle states essentially that we can't know where, and know who is there at the same time...So WHERE is used against YOU to illustrate that impossibility, even though it's a question we all ask all the time...
The Principles of Being and Non-Being are One and the Same
The great Heisenberg of small tenuous certainty
that what we know we don�t of time and place, what
we, waves, wrens or worms, the sleepy sucking currents
of deep ocean are is distorted by the social lies of light
that plays with everything like a child�s puppet
theatre making mock of all
that is ephemeral or enfeebled.
Yet what reflects in each thing of our longing
that we might see its face in day, midnight�s
candled moon and sparking stars
change into hidden language, like the deaf�s
manual music without melody, the voice of the silent body,
change it utterly without our knowing, how what *is* at night
*Is not*, nor even a shadow of what is under light.
Where was Heisenberg? Who or what was he, caught
within this same improbable masque,
the circus of the real where fire-eaters consume flame
more honestly than we our fries, our fish filets
under the gilded doubled arc.
Each unknown enthralled non-thing of our troubling
existence is silenced by the humble-most questions
of all: size and speed, place and journey,
face and the faces turned away--
Where were you?
Why were you not here when we needed you?