Recently I was having an email discussion with my nephew about science, and in particular Einstein. It reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago (around the time of “A Prayer For Art”–see below), in which I imagined that Einstein was a cartoonist and his great theories were a syndicated strip. The inspiration for this was the way his “gendanken-experimenten” (“thought experiments”) were sometimes shown in popular books about Relativity in a cartoon-like fashion.
Is there a connection to my usual subject matter? Well, in my book Forest Of Souls, I have a chapter in which I write about Special Relativity as the great Gnostic text of the twentieth century, based on the idea that only the speed of light is absolute, and therefore all the things we assume are real, such as matter, form, and time, are in fact, relative. And then I related this to the famous question in esoteric Tarot as to where the Fool goes, before all the other cards, or next to last.
Here’s the poem. I hope people enjoy it.
MASS CIRCULATION SQUARED
Drew a feature for the Daily News.
Worming holes in scientific worlds.
Style a bit like Eisner’s,
Characters a lot like King Aroo—
Yup Yop in a spaceship
Going ninety per cent the speed of light.
“I’m one of those animals that never forgets,”
Says Mr. Elephant,
Flying backwards round the Sun,
Cranking his trunk
As he tries to remember
The images of soul
Expanding to infinity.
There was a young lady named Bright—
Hey, Einstein, where’s that Sunday feature,
The one about the schmuck
That flies to Betelgeuse
And comes back younger than his grandson?
Good work, Al,
But you gotta speed production
Or your mass will never make it to infinity.
He was working in a patent office,
Testing railroads, rocket ships, and elevators,
When he sold his strip to the Zurich Chronicle.
The Special Theory of Relativity,
Biggest thing since Peanuts.
If Lucy yanks away the football
At the speed of light—
On a ship jerking in a hurricane
Eddington counts the blackness
In the heart of Suns,
Sends a telegram to Einstein
At the comicbook convention:
Mercury is flying in an elevator!
Children swinging from his hair—
Flash bulbs leaping at his eyes—
He falls asleep in a railroad car,
Synchronizing watches with his brother
In the center of the Earth.
At the speed of darkness,
Vision expands to eternity.
They canceled that, you know,
Worried it would scare the kids.
So they ran an old Doonesbury,
Duke and Zonker swimming to Andromeda,
While Einstein rocked in Lurianic darkness,
Throwing dice with God.