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Secular Requiem for a Supernova (The Test of Turing)

King’s college and a thoughtful heart,
With a child’s impassioned mind, he
Contemplated constellations of circuitry
In the countenance of illimitable night.

Suddenly, a bud of love blossoms
In the verdant hills of youth’s yearnings;
Suddenly followed by the Reaper’s slash
Cleaving a whole heart into a half life.

After the world war to end all war,
Another world war, but this one
With wolfpacks of unterseeboots
Enigmatically commanded by code.

Blechley Park, room 47, Foreign Office –
While a junkyard of bones and homes
Pile into the topography of a holocaust
Our hero slaved in selfless sacrifice.

Cold, cold soul crawls the formal floor,
Scratching through funerary ashes.
Hot, hot light pierces through tears
But then a revelation of computation.

Outside the Regal Cinema,
Man and man walked down Oxford Road
To our man’s burgled home –
Perhaps better known as Pandora’s place.

Twice informed authorities lost interest in theft,
Garnered much more interest in that other thing,
The trade in perspiration when such men met.
So fractured shards of shadows formed acute angles.

There is a tenderness of trust in some of us.
It is invariably a naïve notion born of knowing
The best of one’s self and therefore assuming
The best of others.

They merely asked. He dared confess,
“soixante-neuf, intracrual sex, mutual masterbation”.
So they cut up his dignity with their chemical blades,
Easily ignoring their existential debt.

The under-faces of the mindless mob
Masqueraded beneath grotesque and antiquated law,
Never conceiving the punishment was the crime.
Inhumanity is not Turing Decidable.

Profane brutality of banality –
Like wisdom on a bed of death –
Forgets to commemorate the squandered sun
Before the final test –

Never knowing if living or done.
History mechanically repeats forgetting.
Effectively alone, Alan effectively said,
My sweet apple your poison felt like a friend.

Subtext and Back Story for a Brevity of Candles

My feelings toward Alan Turing (1912-1954) are a corollary of my feelings for Sylvia Plath and Malcolm X – a kind of spiritual rhyme, if you will. I’m not sure I could have been friends with Alan, being that we are both so introverted and absorbed in our own ideas, we likely could have spent months in a room without so much as exchanging sentences. But I believe, if we had been contemporary associates, there would have been a very powerful, mutual simpatico.

I also feel a very close bond with Malcolm X (1925-1965), (AKA Malcolm Little; AKA El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz). Strange how much I identify with him and feel a shibumi-like empathy with him. He: extroverted, religious, black and a reformed criminal. I: introverted, atheist, white and with no criminal record. He: a true believer in God. I: a true believer in truth. We would have respected each other immensely – revealed and bound by our mutual integrity.

It is hard to describe how I feel about Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). I love her so much and feel so close to her. It is as if I knew her intimately. I feel her loss as if I had lost a dear friend and lover. I feel her loss as if she were a girl I once loved and craved from afar, but who never noticed me. It is always painful to read about her. How she haunts me with her distinct grace of genius. My secret conceit is that if we had known each other, she would have seen something in me, akin to something in her.

Wild [ones]* who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

– Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (written 1947, published 1951).

* The brackets are mine, where I changed the original “men” into “ones” so that the verse would apply equally to Alan, Malcolm and my beloved Sylvia, who loved Dylan Thomas’s verse much as I do.

About the Author:

Charles Edward Culpepper, IIICharles Edward Culpepper, III is a Poet, Philosopher and Futurist who regards employment as a necessary nuisance…

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