Monthly Archives: May 2015

Quantum Poet




Schrodinger’s Cat is alive and dead;
it’s all a matter of superposition.
Quantum computers now exist,
utilising this transition.

He reads the great verses in the bath.
He reads one poem; it makes perfect sense.
He reads another; it makes no sense.
Then there are some that are in between;
that shift and blur their meanings,
mutate, even as he’s reading.

It’s not a question of right or wrong;
some poems will make sense, ere long.
He thinks, again, of superposition;
a quantum poet could sing this transition.

It’s a binary world: the weak, the strong.
Binary opposites: the right, the wrong.
Binary opposites: the generous, the mean.
But don’t forget the ones in between.
Don’t forget the constant transition;
necessary for the superposition.

Constant flux; Heraclitus was not wrong.
The binary opposites switch off and on.
The world keeps singing its binary song.

I’ve read quite a lot about “Quantum Computers” recently.  Apparently they exist more in theory than practice at the moment, but if and when they come into being they would revolutionise computing as we know it.  I read about how they are based upon “superposition” of atomic particles, and the almost infinite options that arise from the seething flux of colliding particles; whereas conventional computers are limited to binary digits.  I started to think about the notion of quantum poetry: if quantum computers could be developed, shouldn’t there be “quantum poets”, who could give meaning to the myriad possibilities of quantum collisions?

I struggled for quite a while, wondering how to write a poem about this, but the well-known story of Schrodinger’s Cat proved to be a breakthrough into how to start the poem.  I then realised that the images of constant flux – anticipated by the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus – could be applied to virtually anything; even my habit of reading poetry in the bath!


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