Cry till you laugh

You can laugh till you cry but not cry till you laugh.

You can act the fool but can you fool the act?K

You can fail   to think properly.And  bad thinking can make you fail

You can solve equations but can they solve you?

You can commit a sin   yet in marriage it’s a sin not to commit

You can apologise profoundly   and also feebly.But not together.Why not?

A sin  can  be mortal and mortals can sin.

A  sin is venial if it’s not mortal so a venial sin is immortal.That is bad but is it a sin?

When ignorance hurts



Recent photos by Mike Flemming.2020.Copyright

I am going through something at the moment which I can’t reveal.However it has been illuminating to watch people using Freudian defences to defend themselves from knowing  or hearing.
It’s a bit like this.
You  need to have your appendix out [ which we know needs anaesthetic and surgery]
You have to see your doctor because you  need a tetanus shot, nothing to do with yiur appendix
When you meet your friend, you can see she thinks the doctor  removed your appendix  while she was walking to meet you.It is obvious if one thinks that  it would have been impossible
So when you say you are going to the hospital, she says: I thought the doctor fixed your appendix last week.
The only way that could be true would be if the doctor took a book you had written and removed the appendix from the book.Anyone could do it
So it seems human beings do have defences against knowing certain things.Unfortunately we who speak don’t know what they hear and vice versa
No wonder we had Brexit!
No wonder families split up.
Defences are needed but they have a danger in that you may need to be vigilant about  health or other issues and defending yourself from knowing could shorten your life
Anxiety is  horrible but like when you put your hand into boiling water you need to feel pain  to make you pull it out.

Geese fly by

I like this old poem I wrote 10 years ago when I had no idea what I was doing.The last two lines surprised me.I reaised
that poetry is not logic

brown and white goose on clear water
Photo by Denis Linine on

 It’s Autumn weather, geese fly by;
Autumn rust,red,gold,so gay.

Drystone walls, edging fields,

Apples gathered,holly berries

Flash so brightly

Look like flowers

Sun shines sideways,shadows long

Of trees appear I dwell among

Woods of gentle beeches sing

Swaying with the sideward wind.

See their roots, all intertwined.

Feel their geometry in the mind.

Look up now into the sky,

See the V formation high.

Geese fly home at end of day.

My heart is moved by patterned dance

In this peace and great silence

My mind opens like the sky

And in this moment I would die,

So I could stay with this still vision

Of geese set out on autumn mission.

Snails in rain pools slither near

My feet upon the terrace here

And look,upon their whorled backs

All the sense of life is packed.

And yet so easily Life’s destroyed,

When blind foot steps into the void.

Vibrate with me

img_20200111_143221I have made  an  odd number of mistakes
How can you get even?

What’s odd about a mistake?
It’s the error

I dream while I’m awake
Better take a sleeping pill after breakfast then

The ghost always comes at midnight
Can it tell the time?

I think the light made me jump
I  just can’t believe in those photons attacking you any more.
Why not?
I’ve seem the light

Numbers can also be operations
I wish my lump could need only a number to remove it
A number of operations?
The number is the operation but it might be complex
I love your imagination
Which proves you have one too

Dirac does not sound like an English name
Neither does Battenberg

Was he Jewish?
He still is.
But he’s dead
Like Jesus isn’t?

Why did Heisenberg laugh?
It should be, when not why
You can’t laugh and cry simultaneously
Are you absolutely certain?
No,I am  a postmodernist
Are you sure?
You’ve got me now.
Why, am I  playing   dumb?
Put the lid  on it
I’m not a piano, yet. 
I’m mute with shock
Was it electric?
No, it was  visual.
I see nothing wrong
That’s denial
You can’t prove it
What, is it right and wrong together?
It’s  fuzzy
I half believe
If only we’d done algebra
It uses letters




The purest soul in physics





1st Extract

Like all scientists at the highest level, Dirac was not afraid to descend from the pinnacle and discuss more down-to-earth matters. Here are two examples. Much of our knowledge comes from light scattered by matter; in particular, that is how we see. In a clever stroke of lateral thinking, Dirac realized that the quantum symmetry between waves of light and waves of matter implied that it is also possible for material particles to be scattered by light, a ghostly possibility that could be observed, as he showed in 1933 in a paper with Peter Kapitza. This was observed for the first time about ten years ago and the manipulation of atoms by laser beams is now a thriving area of applied quantum mechanics – a fact recognized with a Nobel prize last year (Physics World November 1997 p51, print version).

2nd extract

Dirac stories

It is not my intention to write about what sort of person Dirac was. But I must mention the genre of “Dirac stories”. He was so unusual in the logic and precision of his interaction with the world, both in and out of physics, that tales have become attached to him and have acquired a life of their own. I suppose it matters to a historian whether they are true or apocryphal (or as Norman Mailer says, “factoids”), but to us they have a deeper resonance that transcends fact. Resisting temptation, I retell just two less well known ones.

Like many scientists, Dirac was known to sleep during (other people’s) lectures, and then wake and suddenly make a penetrating remark. Once, a speaker stopped, scratched his head and declared: “Here is a minus where there should be a plus. I seem to have made an error of sign.” Dirac opened one eye and said: “Or an odd number of them.” Another time, Dirac was at a meeting in a castle, when another guest remarked that a certain room was haunted: at midnight, a ghost appeared. In his only reported utterance on matters paranormal, Dirac asked: “Is that midnight Greenwich time, or daylight saving time?”


God’s little hands

The  branches of the tree  reach out like  hands
The hands of children trusting in their need
Beseeching me to notice their demands

On the sea shore, ghosts of children stand
By gasping waves. where  fishing boats made speed
The  branches  bend out like   god’s little hands

In microcosm, in miniature on land
In macrocosm where the planet bleeds
Beseeches us to  answer earth’s demands

The suck of surf, the prayer of shingle sound
Where  rough plants  fill  the shorelines with their seeds
While  branches  reach out like   god’s little hands

Look stranger  at this island, hear its sounds
The sea birds here, the robin in the weeds
Beseeching man to notice their demands

Prayer  is less important, it’s these needs
Demanding ,without bitterness, our deeds
The  branches of the  trees, the golden strands
Tell us, humankind ,their  last demands