A Sign at CERN

Andrew Wynn Owen

   ‘A Higgs,’ it reads, ‘makes gravity.’Next step? All being, moving, doing spring:  The genomes’ sinuosityOf protein: their controlled tornado-string  And turns where ribbonings entwine     With redoublings, theirCytosine, guanine, thymine, adenineStitches in the fabric. All codes we wearWere hardwired in that atomic hardware.  Take this rock, tied to a star,Englobing in its grip the massive weight  Of mountains, makers of beaux-arts,And all the chattering soldiers of debate  Who tilt their heads like jays and spin     Narratives on the lossOf energy that scatters from their skinWhile altogether elsewhere comets crossAnd plasma clouds congeal like candyfloss.  Now take a dehydrated willow,Weeping at every brand, its structure rolled  For layer on layer—a cigarilloOf bark and sap, mathematically-controlled  Epiphenomenon of carbon     Concealing up its sleeveA blueprint of its promised re-creation:When rain arrives, those seeds it stores will leaveAnd redesign a river with their weave.  Look, Googler! Motors churn a ploughThrough fields in France where battlelines were drawn  As leaflife nods its splitness nowFrom world-at-war. A hurtling lapwing’s borne  On feather-licking air. Its motion     Behaves as ever: timeRelates, connects, elides—lines of devotionBanish division. Out of dugout’s grime,Convolvulus, dormice, thrilled tourists climb.

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Andrew Wynn Owen is a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He received the university’s Newdigate Prize in 2014 and an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2015. With the Emma Press, he has published pamphlets including a narrative poem, lyrics, and a collaboration (with John Fuller).

Andrew Wynn Owen’s impressive debut collection has the crafted confidence of a poet who has inherited the stylistic techniques of Auden, Hardy, Herbert and all those forebears who placed their trust in poetry’s lyrical birthright. The shapes and structures of intricately patterned verse feel like a natural form of expression for Wynn Owen, prompting and provoking a flexibility of language and a fluidity of thought appropriate to the bewildering and beguiling multiplicities of our contemporary world. Within those controlled outlines he showcases an extraordinary versatility of tone and feeling.’
—Simon Armitage

‘To enter Andrew Wynn Owen’s The Multiverse is to enter a world ringing with harmonic patterning, where past and close future are active simultaneously, where rhyme gathers and spins off the edges of intricate thought, where observation and meditation fire together with striking formal ease and precision. Hard to believe this is really a first full collection.’
—Jane Draycott

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