first order transition

A mother, a father,
two brothers and a sister –
a game of five –
how to arrange them
to minimise frustration
in this spin glass disarray,
where every second interaction
is a source of dissatisfaction.

There is no good,
but is there good enough,
when metastable
is the best solution on the table?

If I step away,
will I see a solution
to the riddles of these four?
Or have I solved them already
by walking out the door?


For the dVerse “Carroll crush saga” prompt – choose three of the Lewis Carroll titles from the list provided, and crush them up into a poem. I chose: “Brother and Sister”, “A Game of Fives” and “Four Riddles”, and threw in some physics. A spin glass is a metastable system because it is impossible to satisfy all interactions between particles simultaneously – there is always frustration in the system as long as it is bound together.Ā  Ā  Ā 


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22 responses to “first order transition

  1. I love this brilliant take on the old problem of creating the ideal seating plan. Excellent, Kate.

  2. sanaarizvi

    This is exquisitely woven, Kate! I admire the flawless manner in which you incorporated physics here šŸ˜ thank you so much for writing to the prompt ā¤ļøā¤ļø

  3. Gosh. Genius. Thanks for this. Wow. šŸ‘

  4. VJ

    Powerful write, Kate. A portrait of familial pain.

  5. my mother would freak out
    and set the table early
    so she knows what you mean

  6. There is no good,
    but is there good enough,

    This is something I need to remind myself šŸ™‚

    Well done, Kate!


  7. I love this poem. Perfectly captures the dynamics. Love how you wove in the physics concepts so seamlessly. (I went through a stage in college when I was trying to incorporate concepts from my chem classes into my poetry. My poetry from that era was mostly dreadful. This is not easy to do well!)

  8. writingwhatnots

    Brilliantly done, Kate. šŸ˜Š

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