Simon Williams – Richard Feynman’s Last Act

Richard Feynman’s Last Act

When he was beyond words
and lying in Los Angeles,
he fluttered his fingers on the sheet
like a touch typist or a pianist.
The nurse said ‘He’s not trying
to communicate. It’s involuntary’.

In a lecture years before,
he’d said all science starts with a guess,
but if experiments don’t agree,
no matter how elegant the idea,
the guess is wrong.
You have to make another.

In the bed Richard raised his arms,
gestured there was nothing up his sleeves
and went for one last trick.
No need for a diagram, this time,
just experimental evidence.
He stuck out his tongue.

Note: Prof Richard Feynman won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965 for his work on Quantum Electrodynamics, which included an innovative system of notation, called Feynman diagrams.

 

Simon Williams is a poet from Devon. He tweets @GreatBigBadger

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