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Poem: "The Potential Engine" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "The Potential Engine"
After observing that the poll went to a four-way tie I finally concluded that people just plain liked a bunch of different poems from this batch, and I went with the remark that "happy is better than sad." Here, then, is the community-sponsored poem from the August 2008 Poetry Fishbowl.

The Potential Engine

The cat and the quarter saved the world,
but perhaps I should explain further.

It was the quarter I found while mining the couch for pizza money,
and the cat kept knocking it off the coffee table;
I was mesmerized by the transition from potential to kinetic energy
and back again, which reminded me of the transmission in a car.

Then I recalled a particular page of class notes from college,
before I switched my major from Art to Engineering,
back when I framed my notes in aliens and starship engines,
that day the Philosophy professor talked about harnessing
the potential of humanity – and it all clicked.

But only if I could find those notes. After sixteen years and six moves.

I excavated under the bed, in the garage, in the attic.
I overturned tubs and emptied brigades of boxes.
Only as the setting sunbeams lanced through the dust did I find them:
high on a shelf, filed by date, where my partner had put them away.

So I built the potential engine, fiddled with the transmission a bit,
and shifted humanity into a higher gear.
You’re welcome.
Now please pet the cat, because she knows she saved the world.

Tags: , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

7 comments or Leave a comment
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: August 15th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
how cute is that!!

on another note -- I got this job listing in my email today


it's an instructional designer for an online university -- I am wondering if you might be able to do the job from home? you have plenty of experience on publishing and instructional design.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 17th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I checked it out -- close, but not quite. I don't have all the computer program skills they want. But this is the kind of work I'm keeping an eye out for.
talix18 From: talix18 Date: August 15th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I knew anything about engineering, this poem could be a picture of my life (wildly exaggerated and way more productive). Except I know where the notes are, and my cat's a boy. He saves my world regularly.
From: minor_architect Date: August 15th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh! This poem gives new meaning to the saying, "When in doubt, pet the cat..."

...because those world-saving abilities gotta be nurtured. ;)
tuftears From: tuftears Date: August 15th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
lizamanynames From: lizamanynames Date: August 15th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is just a whole lot of perfect (or purrfect?) wrapped in a smile, served fresh and warm from the oven. ♥
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 15th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

That's really sweet. I'm glad you liked it!
7 comments or Leave a comment