The Professor MusesPhysics Lecture Room—before Class
I am afraid, O Lord, I am afraid!
These instruments so curiously formed,
This dynamo and meter, that machine
Cunning to grasp and hold with delicate hands
Your unchained lightnings … Lord, I am afraid—
Here in the empty silence of my room!
This lecture hall is oddly like a mouth—
Myself the tongue in it, myself the voice,
Shrill, thin across the empty chairs—how queer,
How skeleton-like appear these empty chairs!
Blank walls, blank platform (ineffectual things)
And bleak, bare windows where the startled day
On tiptoe stands, too lovely to come in….
A mouth it seems, a maw, huge, grim, slow, sure
Some day to close and crush me!
Lord, Lord, Lord,
Am I the thing the daylight falters from,
Spinning my dusty web of dusty words
To catch the plunging star we call the world,
Hanging it so a period? Fool, twice fool,
Who spider-like weave cosmic theories
In gossamer nets to trap the universe!
Spun but to tear a thousand tattered ways
And hang on every lilac, if a girl—
A red-lipped, shallow, care-free freshman girl—
Laugh at the sallies of a boy!
Problems of sound and light, of light and sound,
Experiments, materials, theories,
The laws of motion, problems of sound and light,
Problems of sound and light….( And presently )