A Sign at CERN

“A Higgs,” it reads, “makes gravity.”

Next step? All being, moving, doing spring:

The genomes’ sinuosity

Of protein: their controlled tornado-string

And turns where ribboning entwine

With redoublings, their

Cytosine, guanine, thymine, adenine

Stitches in the fabric. All codes we wear

Were hardwired in that atomic hardware.


Take this rock, tied to a star,

Englobing in its grip the massive weight

Of mountains, makers of beaux-arts,

And all the chattering soldiers of debate

Who tilt their heads like jays and spin

Narratives on the loss

Of energy that scatters from their skin

While altogether elsewhere comets cross

And plasma clouds congeal like candyfloss.


Now take a dehydrated willow,

Weeping at every brand, its structure rolled

For layer on layer – a cigarillo

Of bark and sap, mathematically-controlled

Epiphenomenon of carbon

Concealing up its sleeve

A blueprint of its promised re-creation:

When rain arrives, those seeds it stores will leave

And redesign a river with their weave.


Look, Googler! Motors churn a plough

Through fields in France where battlelines were drawn

As leaflife nods its splitness now

From world-at-war. A hurtling lapwing’s borne

On feather-licking air. Its motion

Behaves as ever: time

Relates, connects, elides – lines of devotion~

from The Multiverse (Carcanet, 2018), © Andrew Wynn Owen 2018, used by permission of the author.

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.

Featured in the archive