Heaney’s Physics of Ironing

Poetic physics of Seamus Heaney. An excerpt form “The Smoothing Iron.”

Soft thumps on the ironing board.
Her dimpled angled elbow
and intent stoop
as she aimed the smoothing iron

like a plane into linen,
like the resentment of women.
To work, her dumb lunge says,
is to move a certain mass

through a certain distance,
is to pull your weight and feel
exact and equal to it.
Feel dragged upon. And buoyant.

Heaney, Seamus. “The Smoothing Iron.” Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999. Print.

Relativistic Romance

A romantic take on relativity of simultaneity by my student in PHYS 101, Einstein’s Century, a modern physics course for non-science majors.

You and I and our perspective frames
are resting relative to one another.
So, how is it that we disagree?
I say, “We fell in love the day we met.”
You say, “It was much later.” But I know
what I observed; the forehead kisses, and
flushed cheeks, all of the more primitive signs,
pointed to us in love at the same time.
Maybe we were never quite in sync.
At times when you appeared to pull away
I, too, was moving, relative to you,
and moving fast. So though we are at rest
today, in our not­-quite­-so­-distant past
simultaneity was an illusion.

Celina Reynes,  Wellesley College ’16