Francesca Diffracted

written by © Peter Howard; first published in the Physics Bulletin 1987, also in collection Low Probability of Racoons

Coherence comes as no surprise to those
Who trace our journeys from a single source;
But, restless and unswerving, when we chose
To think our path uniquely straight, our course
Ruled by inexorable law, we rushed
(Since sympathetic hearts were parallel
In each emotion's rise and fall) and pushed
Through bars just far enough apart. Thus Hell
Was innocently entered. The delight
Of pilfered freedom lay beyond the gap:
We turned to sample it and so lost sight
Of one another. Now we overlap
And on occasion superpose our joints,
But meet each other seldom, and at points.