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The Boulder

Alexander Komives is a nuclear physicist, an associate professor and a distant relative of Copernicus whose lifelong passion for astronomy inspired his work in physics. He also is the self-styled “lesser poet of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.” We asked him why he writes poetry, something seemingly removed from his day job. Says Komives: “I want to approach beauty, as revealed to me through physics, with words that will allow others to experience the same sense of awe.”

Adagio for a Good Life

How to live a good life
as revealed to me by
an ancient astronomer
in a dream
which at one time
was accompanied by lavishly engraved
that have now been lost
but I mention them nonetheless. 

Every morning I read a poem
carefully wrapping the words
in the thoughts of my mind
and inscribing them into
the life rhythm of my heart. 

I sing the warmth of a waking sunbeam
with pen and paper
in a mathematical Kyrie
invoking abstract feverish fantasms
from a kingdom of chimerical geometric 
to lay bare the hard substance of immortal 
shimmering in the first light of day. 

I consult the stoic sundial in my backyard
and the revolving astrolabe hanging on my 
     bedroom wall
to insure the hard-won art of listening to 
     the sky
is not forgotten and is instead kept gently 
in a pocket of my memory
amongst a menagerie of other precious 
the diamond ring of a total solar eclipse,
a walk in the woods surrounded by a 
     snowstorm’s silence
rivaled only by the magnificence of the 
     moment eternal
balanced upon the Instant of Creation.

I wade through a sea of accidental smiles
pretending some at least are addressed to 
but it is only when I send a few of my own
with sincerest intent to strangers,
who return the gesture,
that I truly know I am not alone. 

I breathe deeply the lazy
drift, drift, drift
of time’s journey to nowhen in particular
with my cat stretched across my lap,
her quaking purrs suffusing the room
with a feather tendrilled atmosphere
of cinnamon scented contentment
like the slow movement following
a sumptuous holiday feast. 

We each wear our tailored thoughts
from separate but parallel spheres of life
connecting at that shared green gate of
Friendship and Trust
across which paw meets hand
and I can begin to understand what it is to 
     be cat
and she to be human. 

On cloudless nights I bathe
in a shower of stellar luminescence
straight from the edge of heaven,
its mystery, the bread and wine
of Poetry and Science,
soaking into my ephemeral flesh
and penetrating my veins
until my body sublimates
into the slowly turning firmament. 


First Person

is a regular feature of DePauw Magazine, which is published three times a year.

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