[lit-ideas] SUNDAY POEM

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 15:59:01 -0500

The Tao of Freezers.

"Let us talk of joules,"
said the cabbage to the King.
"Precisely the thing I was thinking 
said the King in a shout --
for he was hard of hearing, 
a fault
his subjects found endearing,
as well did his verbs 
but not his adjectives, no, nor the adverbs,
so accustomed are they to modifying everything .
"Know ye how much a joule be ?"
the cabbage asked the King.
"I know how much this diamond cost 
that's in my diamond ring,"
responded the King 
full loudly and showed it proudly.
"Very carbonic," the cabbage praised,
"but the joule I meant is the energy spent
when a apple of three and a half ounces is raised
three feet off the ground, which is one
and one only."
"Why even I can do that," boasted the King whose very ring
weighed in at three and a half carats.
"But how much weighs a crate of parrots
if all are flying at the time of weighing?"
mused the King.
"Were you to swing a baseball bat,
80 joules would go into that,"
the cabbage continued.
"There's one billion six hundred million joules in a tank full of gas.
Seven hundred and twenty billion joules of energy were sacrificed
pushing the average American car through 2003,
Anno Domini.
Or think of it this way: an ounce of matter contains
one trillion, nine hundred eighty-four billion, 
one hundred sixty million, 
seven hundred thousand
joules of total mass-energy, 
enough joules to lift a three and one half ounce apple
one billion, one hundred twenty-seven million,
three hundred sixty-four thousand and thirty-four miles
off the ground, farther even than your majesty can throw
and yet you weigh well in excess of three hundred pounds."
"I am a commanding presence, am I not?"  the King replied. 
"You fill the stage, your Majesty.  It cannot be denied.
Your every footfall resounds through the castle round.
But lest we lose our place and have to retrace this tiresome discourse,
let me conclude: the estimated total mass-energy of the universe
which is more than I have words for, 
and though you could lift an apple plenty high with that much energy,
still it seems not so much to me.  
Like Patti Page I want to say, 'Is that all there is?'
Life disappoints me with its limits," the cabbage confessed.
"God knows best," the King professed laying to rest 
the cabbage's complaint. "Consider this:  the average
kinetic energy of a molecule at room temperature
is .00000000000000000000437 joules.  Not hot enough
to fry an egg that's for sure, and barely enough energy 
to lift a three and one half ounce apple 
.000000000000000000157 inches off the ground," the King
But there's something along the lines of six quadrillion atoms 
in a cubic centimeter of  matter, so I guess it all adds up.  
At least enough to keep you up
right.  Unless, of course, you're put in a freezer 
then you'd dry up like an old geezer 
what with 120,660 joules being sucked out of you every hour
per horse power
but never to down absolute zero, 
the lowest we've ever been able to go
is .0000000000000000000000000000003 joules.
Dem's de rules.
And dat's de Tao of Freezers.

Mike Geary

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