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Picture 10752181, photograph by Johan De Meester, image copyright Mary Evans / Ardea

The God of Molecules
by Noel Duffy


It was late. I was in my room

above Botany Bay, the cherry blossoms below

hidden in darkness, the windows

two black rectangles against the night.

I faced a page of quantum mechanics,

the equations spilling down the sheet

in ordered progressions of uncommon logic.

I was trying to understand some

intractable movement from one line

to another and stared at the page, puzzled.


Quite suddenly, I grasped it, the elegant

equations coming into clarity, then dissolving

in front of me. It was as if I had glimpsed

for a moment beyond the numbers and symbols

to the luminous totality of the reality beneath,

the intricate structure at the base of everything

opening like a door onto a passageway

that I didn’t know existed.


I came back to my senses and the room,

dazed and changed. The cherry blossoms still

swayed below, there yet concealed in darkness,

hiding their daylight brilliance, like the world

I had just encountered, fleeting but actual –

and everything I had known to be certain,




© Noel Duffy

Picture 10752181, photograph by Johan De Meester, image copyright Mary Evans / Ardea



Noel Duffy was born in Dublin. He has published four collections of poetry to date, most recently Street Light Amber, a narrative sequence of love poems set in his native city. He has twice been a recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Bursary for Literature and more recently he was awarded the Patrick & Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. He lives in Dublin’s dockland district.


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