Apple Falls Despite Results

— Patricia Machmiller

Medieval, that falcon watching
the apple fall—the one

said to have started it all—the good and evil
one or, possibly, the Newton one

that kerplunked him soundly
and surprised us
with equations—the moon’s course
(and earth’s too), a bullet’s

flight, the launch of earthly astronauts
into a heady act of hubris

that says the universe is ours. That apple,
the share that fell, still tempts us: go

faster, dare you, dare you . . .

There was a moment
when someone could have asked for
photos, could, possibly, have saved
those Argonauts, the ones who having dared

the cosmos and made it past
earth’s bounds, briefly floated free,

and in their falling back
as the apple did in the beginning—

their spectacular burning freefall
making an incandescent light, a flaming

trail, bright with corpuscles of luminescence that lived for one
moment, then became—within the galaxy—

a sparkling dust.

These travelers—their shining
like the apple we hold a share of—feed us

and even as we gulp the knowledge,
even as we’re engulfed in its great promethean fire,

before we are aware, before this,
we are overwhelmed.

One thought on “Apple Falls Despite Results

  1. WOW–Just WOW! That is all!I love the intelligence of this poem, how it starts with an apple (Why must everything start with an apple?) and ends as an ode to physics, to the grandeur of universe! Yes, indeed, we are overwhelmed!

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