Empty Space

Day 5:

It seems that I’ve gone and got all philosophical for this one — maybe I was inspired after recently reading a brilliant NaPo fourteener that marries science and literature beautifully, or maybe I’ve been thinking too hard on existence lately, but in either case I definitely seem to have taken a more spiritual turn with my adaptation.

Moreover, as both a linguist and a poet, I love to play with words, and I took a handful of them on something of a transformational journey, but it took me awhile to get there: you’ll notice the plentiful notes and pre-writing of my drafts that eventually led me to the final iteration. If only I could illustrate the hours I hovered over the pages…

atom om 1  atom om 2  atom om 3

We are mostly nothing
at our subatomic selves–
a book, and bits of paper
on enormous, endless shelves;

Electrical attraction
with some pinpoints in-between,
a blank and stoic absence
where some theories float unseen;

A void we can’t escape from,
though we may try to avoid
the foreign thought of nothing
as our body is destroyed:

As one divides to many parts,
and many more besides,
we curl into the ovoid cell
where life or naught resides;

Within the mother ovum,
at the bed of sacred sound,
her heartbeat whispers oh-um,
oh-um, oh-um all around,

And with the cosmic silence
as the backdrop for our song,
the fragments float electric fields
to whom the voice belongs;

Thus self folds into darkness,
to the empty space of home,
and across the endless cipher
hums the subtle echo: OM.

Whether in my notes or the poem itself, you can see that I was enchanted by the transition from “a void” to “avoid,” the former defining empty space or nothingness (or, in a verb form, to clear or empty), and the latter representing the action to keep away from or to prevent from happening (or, for an obsolete definition, to empty, eject, or expel). Given the void-like or empty nature of atoms, which they say are mostly comprised of nothing with only a few particles here and there, and that they make up literally everything that we can observe in the universe, it felt natural to extend that inherent nothingness to ourselves — our innermost selves, both literally and figuratively speaking.

For whatever unconscious reason, I went from “avoid” to “ovoid,” then to the Latin “ovum” for the female reproductive cell of animals which is capable of developing into a new individual. So there’s a bit of inner development and progress regarding identity and spirituality. Taking that last concept further, I made a jump to the textual representation of how I hear a heartbeat, and then naturally to the meditative “om,” sound of the universe and the source of all.

And since I’ve probably already colored your interpretation, I’ll stop there. Having said that, comments are always welcome 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Empty Space

    • Thank you! I find that tracking the creative process of each of my poems on paper is incredibly revealing. Up until this year I’ve typed my poetry almost exclusively, but now I can see where my writing came from and what thoughts were sharing the same mental space at its conception.

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