What Isaac Newton Saw

Rose Lucas

 

At Woolsthorpe Manor,

his childhood home,

the famous apple tree –

or perhaps its latter-day descendent,

a gracious Maid of Kent –

still droops its gnarled arms toward the

clottedness of earth,

giving up its wormed and floury fruit to the grass,

to the possibilities of turbulent

and muddy transformation:

 

Outwitting the plague, he sat for seasons in his quiet house,

its losses and constraints,

the drabness of its close routines;

almost a poet,

he watched

with such stillness and

openness

and restlessness –

the quiet world unfolding in his garden;

an ordinary miracle that needs a different eye to see it,

a new tilt of the head, or sudden mood of

equanimity that allows leaves to rustle,

branches to brush the lawn,

a bird to move discretely and even

try out some autumnal singing –

 

each thing

sifting into

place,

judged   or

unjudged:

until an apple simply

falls –

a muscular movement of energy,

and chance –

and a new constellation of elements

spins

shimmering

into view.

 

Woolsthorpe Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire. ©Pauline Brightling, 2011.

Rose Lucas is a Melbourne poet whose collection  Even in the Dark was published by UWAP in 2013. She is the winner of the Mary Gilmour award for poetry 2012-2014. She is also a freelance academic, currently working at Victoria University.

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