The Quantum Theory of Poetry


According to the quantum theory of poetry, any experience can be written about in a multiplicity of forms. That poem, for instance, I posted yesterday about a butterfly’s wings was a short lyric verse. It could just as easily have appeared as a haiku, a tanka, a triolet, possibly even a sonnet though to appear as a ballad would have been stretching the envelope a little too far. And here’s the amazing thing. Each form would have just as much validity as any other. None would be inferior or superior to any other. Each probability would exist in its own right.

This has enormous implications. It means any experience you have written about in one poetic form could just as easily have been written about in another. That it hasn’t doesn’t disprove the theory. It just means that you have settled in this instance on the form you have chosen. Try this exercise. Try writing your poem in another poetic form. Test the theory.

It means, for instance, that Keat’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ could have been written as a sonnet or a villanelle, that any of Shakespeare’s sonnets could have been written as lyric verse, sestinas or villanelles. That they weren’t does not preclude the possibility.

I could go further. But for the time being I will leave it there.



I don’t know what it is about shoes that make people so uptight. I like to take mine off in restaurants and libraries. I don’t think it does any harm as long as you’re hygienic. But security staff get uptight in libraries when you spread out on a seat or sofa with your shoes off and your head in a book or magazine. They look at you disapprovingly but say nothing. Perhaps they’re not allowed to. I don’t think it’s right to take your shoes off on public transport though in planes I do. Planes are different. I don’t know why. They just are. I like it when you go into a home and the host asks you to take your shoes off at the door. I could regularly visit a place like that. When you enter a mosque, so I’m told, you must take your shoes off. It is almost worthwhile to consider converting to Islam, no disrespect.



Pegs have their hang ups like everyone else.
They make poor Buddhists, rarely practicing detachment.
I was a peg once but didn’t like hanging around.
Like pit bulls, they clamp down firmly.
They drift off from time to time into metaphor.
We all need to be brought down a peg or two now and then.

The Canyon


I don’t go through there any more — I stopped going at the turn of the century — but for many summers when it was too hot to walk elsewhere I walked through the Hendon Industrial Estate. Very busy during the week, it was like a ghost town during the weekend when only a few businesses kept going. Because of the factories on either side of the roads there was plenty of shade. But the star attraction was ‘the canyon’, a wide open space between two huge warehouses, both belonging to the South Australian Film Corporation, where any air movement coming in one end magnified into a cool strong breeze as it funnelled its way out to the opening some thirty metres way. It was a real cool spot in both senses of the word. Writing about it makes me want to go back.