The New Violin

Total eclipse, May–November 1919

Empires have fallen
and birds hold their breath
as discs embrace in a darkness
that questions the weight of light.
Principe Island: Through cloud. Hopeful.
Sobral, Brazil: Eclipse splendid. 

The data speak and Moses descends
from the mountain with a paradigm
carved in Riemannian stone.
Only twelve people understand it
and the public has begun to doubt
that two times two still equals four. 

The data speak and starlight bends
to the will of strange geometries,
the language of tensor calculus.
Newton is dragged into the light,
fails to compete with the prophesies
of the Suddenly Famous Dr Einstein.

At forty, the way ahead is clear,
a new wife walking at his side.
To celebrate, he buys another violin
and glances back, half-expecting to glimpse
Mileva limping a few steps behind.
He sees only admirers. 

by Martin Zarrop

News! The Centre has teamed up with IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival and poet Kate Wakeling to run two poetry workshops for families on 9 and 15 April in Oxfordshire County Library. We’ll be encouraging participants to write brand new poems, ready for the IF Oxford Poetry of Science Competition. So if you know anyone aged 6-16 who is keen on poetry and science, please bring them along! You can sign up here.

Thenon 30 April, we’re at Waterstones to host four Canadian poets (Chad Campbell, James Arthur, Stephanie Warner, and Jim Johnstone) and celebrate the recent publication of an exciting new anthology of Canadian poetry. Sign up to attend here.

And on 20 May we are collaborating with the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture to bring the acclaimed poet Gillian Allnutt to Oxford – don’t miss her!

Find out more about these and other upcoming events on our Eventbrite page.

‘The New Violin’ is copyright © Martin Zarrop, 2019. It is reprinted from Making Waves. Albert Einstein, Science & Life  (V. Press, 2019) by permission of V. Press.

Martin Zarrop is a retired mathematician who wanted certainty but found life more interesting and fulfilling by not getting it. He started writing poetry in 2006 and can’t stop. His pamphlet No Theory of Everything (2015) was one of the winners of the 2014 Cinnamon Press pamphlet competition. His first full collection Moving Pictures was published by Cinnamon Press in October 2016. Read more about Making Waves on the V. Press website.

V. Press publishes poetry and flash fiction that is very very, with emphasis on quality over any particular style. Established with a launch at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2013 and shortlisted in The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award 2017, V. Press poetry knows what it wants to do and does it well. Read more about the press on the website

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.