Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October 5

All month we're writing poetic letters!


  1. Dear Steven Hawking,

    I’d like to thank you for being yourself,
    for not using electronic media alone
    to interact with other people while you
    sit at home, inert and quiet.
    You continue to meet your students,
    produce a real enhanced voice
    so you can talk with them.

    Young professor Hawking at Cambridge,
    you went upstairs to the dining hall High Table
    where you entertained all of your colleagues,
    including young molecular biologist Joan Steitz,
    with the brilliance of your conversation.
    To get to the dining hall, you had to
    use two canes to ascend the stairs.

    Later when you could not walk at all,
    you spoke at Caltech, MIT, Azerbaijan, Moscow.
    You pursued a travel schedule similar to
    that of any famous Cambridge professor.
    And then, on top of your regular physics
    analysis and research, you wrote books
    and made TV shows explaining the universe
    to a lay audience.

    When I’m tempted to become
    a permanent chair denizen,
    it is your example that sends me
    outside to plant seeds or
    to Eaton Canyon Nature Reserve
    to inspect handicapped trails
    for the Sierra Club.

    Thank you for your inspiring life.

    1. I love this poem and to such a great person too!

  2. Dear Cesar Milan—

    I don’t suppose I can actually articulate
    what wonders you have done for
    dog lovers everywhere.
    You took a language largely
    forgotten—no, not forgotten—crowded
    out by selfies and mathematic theorems—
    and showed us how locking eyes
    with another being is much stronger
    than any punch.

    Your patience with owners is unmatched—
    a dog biting the owner isn’t a reflection
    of his time chained up alone—“They live in the moment”;
    and a protective stance from
    a tiny chihuahua is not
    a sign of love, but
    possession—“This is my human”.

    You took large questions
    from a world preoccupied
    with why
    and broke narratives into
    smaller bits—easier to digest
    like kibbles.

    It’s hard to imagine that someone
    like you
    snuck across our border—
    that someone
    like you
    slept under a freeway bridge—
    that someone
    like you
    washed dishes for a time—
    because you knew there was something more
    than what was available in Mexico.

    I suppose I’ll never know what your reasons were,
    but despite all that—in the narrative of your own story—
    I can rejoice that you came to the US
    and walked multiple rottweilers, pitbulls and dobermans
    with your chest held out and a wittled,
    wooden, walking stick as your
    makeshift sceptor.