Planck

by Martin Zarrop

Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, January 1945

He didn’t want it, you know, this universe
of fragmentation. He didn’t even like the atom.
Ultimately it will have to be abandoned
in favour of continuous matter, he insisted.

In his dark suit, starched white shirt
and black bow tie, he looked like a Prussian
civil servant but for the penetrating eyes
under the huge dome of his bald head.

He yearned for the certainties of the past
but the century splintered into relativity,
Schrödinger’s Cat, the possibility
of a state between life and death.

We went for a walk in the Grunewald Forest.
I was seven years old and he was full of joy:
Today I have made a discovery
as important as that of Newton

but he hoped the quantum would vanish.

Father, look closely at the world.
The rules have been broken;
there is no going back.