The Quantum

                        by Peter Shor


I am the spooky action at a distance,
The seething chaos that fills up empty space,
The wave function collapse that you shall never witness,
The living grin upon the dead cat’s face.

Am I a wave? Am I a particle? Am I analog or digital?
The answer surely must be both or none.
My laws say quarks and clocks alike show interference,
That if you watch a state, it never changes,
That two entangled systems act as one.

I make superconductors lose all their resistance,
I make the atom split, the laser gleam,
And although you might feel bewildered by my strangeness,
I am real! ... You are living in a dream!


This poem was very loosely inspired by Gérard de Nerval’s famous sonnet El Desdichado,
which was allegedly written when he was confined in an insane asylum. Somehow, that seems
appropriate for a poem about the weirdness of quantum mechanics.