Friday, June 3, 2016

Jack Scott writes


A young stone,
one of many children of an old boulder,
spawn of older mountain,
now down upon its knees,
bald and manifold . . .

Young stone,
bearing remnant wrinkle tracery of birth
and at least one fragment manuscript
of an excellent map of home,
lies abed in stream
growing algae-beard in water-feast,
moss in water-famine.

It rains.
It rains upon the rains.
Rains fall upon the flood,
are gargled by the earth.
Sky floods upon ground floods;
sky has more to shed than earth can neatly hold.

The stone moves.
Stripped naked once again,
clean cut and round,
then dizzy, as if head
instead of merely head-sized.

Bodiless tumbler tumbles,
cavorts tag-along with sea-drawn kin,
past reluctant monoliths,
more slowly mountain pushed
for the moment,
pulled more down and on.

The roar below the flood
a symphony of touching, moving things,
many, many more than many,
billiards and billiards and billiards -
for the dying father behind,
obedient to the insistent mother below
calling them home once more
as sand
as time itself coursing down the hourglass,
with water as its only answer,
gravity its throat,
and no one there to hear.

There are waterfalls where water tiptoed,
now taking giant steps
on escalators gone amok:
threads, ribbons, ropes and trickles,
drips and leaks and spurts,
rocklocked, mosslipped pools and puddles,
now torrents -
all permutations
flowing without error,
without flaw,
engineered and executed
one way with the water,
one way only-

The young stone -
spinning, nearly swimming -
leaps with the wildness of the water,
but not to air -
there is none,
not even in the air.
It is water’s reign upon the earth,
obeying only gravity.

Stone spins out
as far as down,
strikes a larger, harder stone,
barely chipping it;
the tumbler splits and rolls no more.

When the flood has gone,
and the brown has left the water,
when the stream and pools
are reasonable once more,
I come to fish,
or not to fish,
to wade among the smooth young stones . . .
and razor rocks!

Blood streaming down the sole of my bare foot,
hurts my eye at first
more than the rest of me.
The pain is rattlesnake:
having struck it winds itself again
and waits.
Chills come,
as I look to see
what no one else had ever seen,
and what it may have done to me.

As I saw Rome once,

and never once again,
in a tiny ancient onyx bust -
in stone a woman
so lovely that in touching her
she haunted me with her foreverness . . .

If she were that to me -
her flesh in onyx in my hand,
her eyes to my adoring eyes -
so did indeed the rest of Rome exist
and I knew it in that moment
in the museum with my friend.

Upon the fresh cleft stone that slashed me
where the blood it let from me
flows onto its crystal clotting,
upon its regularity there is a seam,
a mate to the slash it made in me
the size and shape of my fresh wound
as if my foot and it had once been one,
then sundered.

Upon that mirrored gash
where the blood it took from me
clots dark upon its fractured grayness
there is a seam running diagonally
the size and shape of my fresh wound,
more the color of my clotting blood
a moment past than shadow,
more the hue of my flowing blood
than ribbons or a flag
In my pain there is a thrill
of familial recognition.

I sit, faint and swiftly bleeding,
alone beside my wound’s companion.
now freshened with its borrowed blood,
the low west sun upon it . . .
darkening . . .

I touch it with my foot
to see if it’s still flowing.
smoother than the stone around it,
yet sticky moist,
and cold,
throbbing, it pulses,
as I’m getting lost in time
and further from the dimming day.

Rome passes,
one leaf of many,
time stripping bare the tree of eons.

The stone’s wound -
it’s guest?
. . .or prisoner?
Should I honor its sanctuary?
Or set it free?

These token tools I carry
would break upon it;
with harder tools from home,
what would I be freeing
by dismemberment?

As I touch it with my hand
there is no seam
between the stone and our wound.
It is all one of a piece
older than any city I ever knew the name of,
yet here . . .
with me.

No way to take the whole thing home;
my brother is too heavy
for this limping man.
No way I’d really want to:
put it on the mantel,
in a box in the basement.
That is entropy.
Some things are meant to be
just where you find them.

The years have flown,
the day is swiftly fleeing,
and I with it
albeit at a hobble,
a Sphinx at twilight.

I will return each noon
to visit
until it goes away,
or I do.

I hate to see mountains come to their knees.
Young Rome was my limit in time
when my onyx woman beckoned,
showed me the way to come with her
away from the museum
where she was serving time,
and I was killing it.
Certainly I went with her;
she could not come to me.

Whose blood, congealed,
has mixed with mine, 


I am become blood brother
to an ancient dying mountain
and am suddenly very tired.
How far in time can I now go
to see older brother young,
crowned with laurel,

Mountain has come to me -
not far,
as the trout swims . . .

Stars that died as mountain was born
beamed out their epitaphs,
which we have not read yet.

Mountain has come to me.
How far can I go to mountain?

 ®Copyright 2016 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. The French mathematician Lazare Carnot proposed in 1803 that in any machine the accelerations and shocks of the moving parts represent losses of moment of activity ( in any natural process an inherent tendency towards the dissipation of useful energy exists). In 1824 his son Sadi posited that in all heat-engines, whenever "caloric" (heat) falls, it can produce motive power (work). This was an early insight into the second law of thermodynamics. The German physicist Rudolf Clausius objected to Carnot’s supposition that no change occurs in the working body and instead provided a mathematical interpretation. In 1865, when the existence of atoms was still a controversial idea, he coined the term “entropy” (from the Greek “en-“ [in] and “tropē” [a turning, transformation]) to describe the "waste heat" (energy loss) from mechanical devices, describing entropy as the transformation-content ( dissipative energy use) of a thermodynamic system during a change of state (in contrast to earlier views, based on the theories of Isaac Newton, that heat was an indestructible particle that had mass). Clausius wrote that he "intentionally made the word enropy as similar as possible to the word energy." Later, as more was understood about the behavior of molecules on the microscopic level, the term came to acquire several additional descriptions. In 1877, Ludwig Boltzmann conceptualized the "motional" (i.e. kinetic) energy of molecules as being responsible for the temperature of a substance or a system, and he used the word "disorder" as he developed a statistical view of entropy using probability theory to describe increased molecular movement. Since then, as quantum behavior came to be better understood by Werner Heisenberg, John von Neumann, and others, the trend in chemistry and physics textbooks has been to describe entropy as energy dispersal. But the mathematics developed in statistical thermodynamics was found to be applicable in other disciplines. In information theory, “Shannon entropy” is the measure of the amount of information that is missing before reception (a concept devised by Claude Shannon in 1948 to study the amount of information in a transmitted message). Romanian-American economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen used the entropy concept to develop ecological economics, which treats an economy as a subsystem of the ecosystem and its emphasis upon preserving natural capital, as opposed to environmental economics (the traditional economic analysis). The idea has also been used in psychodynamics and evolution. It is loosely associated with the amount of order or chaos in a thermodynamic system. The traditional qualitative description of entropy is a measure of "molecular disorder" and the amount of wasted energy in a dynamical energy transformation from one state or form to another, referring to changes in the status quo of a system. The idea of "irreversibility" is central to its understanding. All physical processes are irreversible, and the thermodynamic state variable known as entropy is always increasing. The overall principle is that energy of all types changes from being localized to becoming dispersed unless hindered from doing so; entropy change is the quantitative measure of that kind of spontaneous process. Entropy is the only quantity in the physical sciences that seems to imply a particular direction of progress, so entropy measurement is thought of as a kind of clock. Since a finite universe is an isolated system, its total entropy is constantly increasing, leading to a heat death in which all the energy ends up as a homogeneous distribution of thermal energy and no more work can be extracted from any source. Gravity causes dispersed matter to accumulate into stars, which eventually collapse into black holes, thus contributing to the increased entropy. However, although entropy does increase in an expanding universe model, the maximum possible entropy rises much more rapidly, thus moving the universe further from heat death.


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