Friday, September 19, 2014

Gravity and Levity

Giaconda by Rene Magritte, 1953

For Poetry Friday, over at Poem Farm, I'm posting another of my physics poems in the newly published Guys Read: True Stories, edited by Jon Scieszka (cover art below). It's titled Gravity, speaking of which I have a question. In Magritte's painting, Giaconda, are the bowlerized men falling, rising, or perhaps merely floating? Maybe they're turning in space, as they face different directions.


The opposite of levity
Supposedly is gravity.
For levity means "lightness, mirth,"
While gravity means "down to earth."
And if it simply 
Wasn't there,
We'd float like blimps
Up in the air.
And though it's great,
I think, to fly,
The birds might hate
To share the sky.
And with your head 
Below your feet,
It might be difficult to eat.
To see your food float out of sight
Would surely hurt your appetite.
I'll bet your sleep
Inside a cloud
Would not be deep
When things got loud.
For thunderclaps
Would hurt your head
While you were sleeping
In your bed.
Let's stick with gravity instead.


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

*Giggle!* This, and the other poems are a blast. (I especially like imagining the annoyed birds.) Thank you for featuring these poems here and too, for sharing about Jon's new book. I'm excited to get it as we already have the rest of the series. Happy Poetry Friday!

jan godown annino said...

Appreciations for this gravity poem & also for Magritte's men. On them, the men, not feeling movement. More like your last line, they are sticking, but oddly, sticking to the air.

So many moments of levity in your poem - since I'm hungry at the moment I feel much pulled to thinking of food floating away. I guess the Purple Martins and others eaters in flight feel this all the time. With Amy I appreciate your thinking of ticked off avians, Mr. Florian.

Bravo! on this & on the new collection, a title with both heft & lift.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Love it - thoughtful AND funny!

LInda Baie said...

So much imagining here. I just saw the film Gravity, and watched the frustration with the lack of control. Up in the air, birds do have it, but if we were only floating, would we ever stop in one place like Magritte's men? Love the poem & the possibilities of sharing & then children imagining their own worlds UP! I know the anthology will be terrific like the others!

Douglas Florian said...

Thank you Amy, Jan, Matt, and Linda for your kind thoughts and levity.

Doraine Bennett said...

What fun!

jama said...

Bravo! Love your poem. The eating upside down was my favorite part, of course. :) And thanks for the wonderful Magritte!

Liz Steinglass said...

This is wonderful fun. I love the way you so "seriously" consider the implications. Now that you mention it, Magritte's figure must be spinning and I think going up and then down and then up and so on. At a leisurely pace, I think.

Joyce Ray said...

Magritte's men don't appear to be particularly mirthful, but your poem is! Thanks for sharing.

Bridget Magee said...

Too funny! Yes, gravity is a good thing - especially because being likened to a blimp is not good for my self esteem. JK. =)

Douglas Florian said...

The only good thing about being a blimp is you get to float in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I think Rene was a somewhat somber, serious
fellow.Thanks also to Doraine, Jama, Liz, Joyce, and Bridget!

Holly Mueller said...

That's such an intriguing painting, and your poem is so engaging! My students will love it. I enjoy all your poetry.

Susan Taylor Brown said...

When I read your wonderful poems it makes me want to be back in the classroom so I could share them with a wider audience. Birds not wanting to share the air! Great!

thank you.

Keri said...

I love how you manage to be outlandish and logical simultaneously. Fun poem!

Katie Logonauts said...

Fun poem and great questions. Love the pairing with the Magritte artwork too!

Ruth said...

I enjoyed the poem! Thanks for sharing it!

Douglas Florian said...

Thanx also to Holly, Susan, Keri, Katie, and Ruth.

Kelly Polark said...

Love it!!!

Teresa Robeson said...

Among the sur- and the sub-real,
Magritte is indeed the real deal.
Proof of veracity lies
in the lightness he makes your heart feel.

Well...that was pretty bad...but any attempt at poetry would be (especially a 5 minute effort) when compared to your awesome poem! :)

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