Ending the Longest

With these last three sections (9 and 10 plus an epilogue to equalize the prologue with which the poem began, although the number twelve is not necessarily as important numerologically as the number ten), we reach the end of my longest single poem (although I assume most actual readers have realized that it is essentially composed of smaller poetic units that just donʼt quite stand on their own as individual poems). I also hope that weʼve observed that without the prologue and epilogue, itʼs all just science. Right?

The mysticism is all just in the framework (or whateverʼs left).

Part 9 explores the creative possibilities of utter darkness, into which all sparks of light are cast by the simple force of gravity, pure and essential. As astrophysics is basically mathematics, we are back to numbers, too, of course. The physics of creation and annihilation overlapping at the ends of time intrigue me. Also, black holes were still relatively novel at the time I wrote the poem. The black-hole caused lumping of galaxies (and their relation to quasars, a theme I ended up deleting from the poem back in ‘84, although I dearly wanted to include and explore the most luminous objects in the universe) has since become commonplace and accepted. I wonder today why I chose (or didnʼt choose) to mention only four people by name: Hawking, Gell-Mann, Russell and Wittgentstein… And no females, except my imaginary australopithecine. Whereʼs the Shekhinah, then?

More literally, I like right now to call part 10 “Tinnitus,” having over the past several months noticed that I have developed that annoying symptom of screaming celestial crickets sibilating constantly, a supernatural susurrus whispering and rustling at the very frontier of my high-pitched hearing. I hesitate to complain, knowing friends suffer much worse — actual Ménièreʼs Disease, for instance — but this unreal scratchy feedback is evidently a part of my life now. I have tried (irregularly, over May and now into June) to cease aspirin-consumption, having been a daily doser, and I have wondered if caffeine is a causative agent, having increased my caffeine intake as a Census operative, consuming a convenience store cappuccino a day. (Too much of me for what was meant to be an utterly impersonal poem: thus the tone and voice, which I am afraid the plethora of links may have undermined.)

10 does refer to the discovery of the evidence of creation, effectively proving the Big Bang. Is this unheard hiss, this darkened light, expended energy, the remnant (soulless) sparks of creation?

The epilogue returns clearly and directly to traditional Kabbalah, referencing the Sefirot and the Gates and finally ending without punctuation.

Ayn-Sof (concluded)


The effect which causes
the gathering of stellar material into galaxies
could be superstrong
gravitational singularities

(the probable existence of which was first calculated by
wheelchair-bound Cambridge mathematician Stephen Hawking).

A so-called black hole
derives its name
from the dark fact that the intense gravity
resulting from star’s utter implosion
absorbs not only all matter
to the most charming quark
but also
curves back all energy, all light.

A particle at the inner edge
of the funneling accretion disk
around the singularity
a relativistic paradox of nearluminal acceleration:

in the instant of annihilation,
time stops.


In 1965,
while trying to locate
the source
of low-level static occurring
in Telstar communication satellite transmissions,
two Bell Telephone Laboratories
research scientists, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson,
discovered a 3-degree Kelvin black-body radiation.

Further investigation revealed
that the faint microwave background
emanated almost equally from every direction in the universe.

This subtle hiss
is all that remains
from the energies released
at the instant of creation.

י א

ten elements they list by name in the language Aquinas could
not read, like Greek, which reach enchained from nothing
through angelsong to the mighty wrack where mortals scream.

ten figures in lightwheels breathe the matter we believe,
and someone counted four eights doors that made the faceless
void conceive: the silversilent sword of Words.

ten facets among themselves commune in complex webs of will,
and he who speaks their compound lights redeems the thickly
murky world and rides alone upon the photons’ chariot.

keter chokmah binah chesed geburah netzach yesod hod malkut

where’s beauty now, you ravenlunged and milkdrunk seers?
we’ve consumed the combination to your ancient, dreamy fears

July 1984
©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

2 thoughts on “Ending the Longest

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