Thursday, November 4, 2021

let's get physicsal

Greetings, Poetry Friday People!  All are welcome at this table, even those like me who believed (may still believe) that they are not math people. 

But if poets and scientists are kindred spirits, then so are poets and mathematicians, for is not math at the heart of nature and science, and is not math just another language for language lovers to embrace?

Our INKLINGS challenge for the first Friday of November is set by Linda Mitchell, who as a librarian loves 512 and 539 as much as she loves 811 (right, Linda?): "For November, write a poem that includes the idea of percentage/ percent. Percentages are all around us in recipes, prices, assessments, statistics. Include the idea of percentage in your poem in some way."

Well, alrighty then.  Roll with it, folks!


Superposed PercentAge

with reference to theoretical physics, Mary Oliver and Schrodinger’s Cat

The commencement speaker told my daughter she’d

easily live to 100 and beyond, "maybe on Mars!” he said,

with a note of thrill in his quantum entrepreneur’s voice.  

My chance of living to 100 is, according to the internet 

calculator, 0%.  At 57, I am instead likely to make it 92% 

of the creaky, forgetful way to my own personal century.

Doing the math, I find that these ≈57 years I have so far lived

are 0.619 of my predicted total out of 100, or about 62%,  

which despite counting as an F on most grade scales feels

satisfactory to me. Yet according to the RealAge assessment  

on my health insurance site, I am not only 57 but also exist

in a quantum state of 51.4 due to clean living and privilege. 

Like everything, I’ll die at last, and too soon--unless I spend

that 5.6 years simultaneously, like that cat, alive and dead.

Now I’ll tell you what it is I plan to do with the remaining

35 years or 38 percent of my 100% wild and precious life:








this box.


draft HM 2021


 This one is wiiiiiide open, so it will be fun to see what others have come up with.  Check out their creations!

-Catherine at Reading to the Core
-Linda at A Word Edgewise  -Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

Mary Lee is also our host today, so wave on over in the manner of quantum particles, as if going in two directions at the same time, and I'll hope to see you there!


  1. (OK I lost my first comment... sigh) I love the ending of your poem and all the "poetry buzzing inside" you. I suspect it's snap-crack-poppin' as well! Lucky us to benefit from all that energy (even though some of us may still struggle to fully grasp the idea of quantum).

  2. Your "state', rather, your 'poetry', took me down a physics review from long ago, wondering why it took me so long to actually apply the knowledge I had forgotten. I'm glad to read that you will spend your time "buzzing inside' that imaginary box with poetry. Very fun, and deep, Heidi!

  3. Love this revision so much! That ending just breathes out your determination and drive. Inspiring, really!

  4. GO, HEIDI! I love the quantum poetry-starstuff buzzing inside your box. xo

  5. I am 100% impressed with you all for rising to this challenge. Loving the different interpretations. And you're right - about the language. Though you've for sure messed with my head here, with all your confounding (thank-you Molly) computations!

  6. You started off by teaching me a new word (superposed), and then you proceeded to demonstrate the meaning stanza after stanza, percent after percent, until the final stanza-stack at the end. Brilliant! Can't wait to read all the poetry that you release, buzzing, from the next percentAGE of your big beautiful life!

  7. I think that is a great plan you have devised at the end of your poem. So much to do and such a small percentage remaining, though my head got muddled in the math, but one can only assume that is 100% true.

  8. I love this. Rip that box open, and let every big, beautiful, buzzing poem out. Get it, girl! And thank you for inviting those of us math-wobbly to the table, too. (I'm revising my MG novel that has math and poetry in it, and this is a welcome invitation for sure!)

  9. Hooray! I am smiling and finger snapping on this end of the internet reading your poem. I love how much you worked your numbers into this poem in your smart and savvy style. Oh, this poem is rich, RICH! I hope I can live to 92 with you so that I can read every quantum of poetry you've put out into this world. It will be so 100& worth it!

  10. Wow, Heidi. The journey this poem takes us on is 100% amazing! Your revision brings everything into focus. I love how you distill your intention in those final words, and having each on its own line makes them even more powerful. Without making light of the seriousness of your intention, and with "quantum" now reverberating in my head, I want to cheer you on by shouting "To infinity, and beyond!"

  11. What fun to see how you met Linda's challenge! I do feel better about my math phobia now, and you've inspired me to think longer and harder about what I do with my remaining 38%.

  12. I love this! And I caught that little Mary Oliver allusion, too, which makes me happy! :-D

  13. Love how you fit all those percentages in there, and the lively way they pull you along through your poem. The ending is bursting with your energy, thanks Heidi!

  14. Wow! I love this! It took planning and research to write this poem of math and stats, including percentages. I love math but do not consider myself a "math person." In all honesty, all three of my boys were great at math and it made me look at numbers in a different way! thanks for sharing, Heidi! Great Poem! Carol @ The Apples in My Orchard.

  15. This is so great! I especially liked "which despite counting as an F on most grade scales feels/satisfactory to me." YES!

  16. Looking forward to 'every quantum of your buzzing poetry' for however long you share it, Heidi. :)

  17. This is wonderful Heidi! I love how you looked at your percentages from so many angles. I'm enjoying all these percentage poems, especially since I just finished listening to a wonderful middle grade novel called Solving for M in which math is a wonderful part of the story.

  18. Wonderful rumination on life expectancy percentages. You look at the numbers in so many different ways. Love your plans for the 38% remaining of your wild and precious life.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!