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Physics and Poetry

Science and art are often played as opposites, but they have so much in common that I've come to believe that they are slightly different ways of looking at the same thing. Still, using that relationship can help create a new perspective. For instance, some of the rules from classical, Newtonian physics may alter your perspective on writing poetry, maybe even in constructive ways.

An object at rest tends to stay at rest. That's your reader. They have no momentum when they first come to your poem. What they have is the inertia of an object at rest, and it takes something extra to overcome inertia. Your title may peak the reader's interest, but that won't be enough. That's the particular importance of the first line. You need to get the reader moving into the poem. If that first line is a stone wall of impenitrable image, you've given the reader no incentive. If your fourth line is terrific, but the first line sits quietly doing nothing, very few readers will ever enjoy line four. However, if the first line breaks the inertia and manages to convert some of the reader's potential energy into kinetic energy, you've bought yourself some time to develop an idea or image, a couple of lines that can build up to greater strength without having to be killers on there own.

So you've got that great first line to start the movement, and since an object in motion tends to stay in motion, the reader continues through lines two and three even though they're slightly uphill. Then you have some ideas building, some images to play off one another, a bit of shared time with the reader, so that the next lines have special impact.

Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but it can be redirected or altered in form.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

With the right fulcrum and lever, you can move the world.