Two Poems


Ian Gibbins








I see them and look them away

and see stinger-ray hide in bush

jackal-plum make jam round feet

stripes bright them cross my eyes

them dark in blue-sky rumble-cloud

in lightning-steel-bolt that fall them

burn them to ash to puff of skin-

smoke as if bone-dead and going

gone but I still see them hear them

song-in-my-ear voice telling them

to sit quiet just don’t move them

just wait wait them to final return


or maybe we letter them open

read them again under mulberry

under koala-gum honeyeater-bud

tell them how where when we say

them in adventure big-news-story

we wish them lion-heart wild-dog-

brain-cunning double-claw them

climb for a better view once more

feel them in love then warm with

hand-grip in ours ring-finger them

like memory we wish them well

all together see them fade-away



perhaps we were them will be them

spectres of them shadows on tiles

pavements avoiding them missing

them afraid of spider-snake-lizard

at bay intersecting sparrow-hawk

spotlit them we hoodwinked them

ate with them counted tried to name

them push-pull-cajole consign them

to hiding-hole-safe accommodate

them left-among-us still-ahind-us

we watched them watched us come-

and-go and come and go-and-go







The Exclusion Principle *



We are not to be confused. Complications will be reduced to a simple rule.


We are not subject to other principles.


We cannot occupy the same states at the same time.


It is impossible for us to have the same values. We must be different. We must have opposites.


The exchange of our identities is asymmetric, underpinning our everyday, our large scale stability.


For any ground state, this is true, this zero, the first, the last, a sphere, these repulsive interactions of infinite strength, connected, clustered in some manner.


Yes, this is how we share, short range, long range, simultaneously, a continuous band of energy levels, a sum of states so degenerate they cannot contribute to this variety of combinations, our exotic occupation.


We depend on our outermost shell for stability. If disrupted by extreme pressure, this enormous rigidity may collapse.


But, no, this cannot happen.


We cannot, we will not, violate this principle.


We will overcome.


This explanation will be extended to all.




*Pauli’s Exclusion Principle is a fundamental property of matter that defines key aspects of atomic structure and underlies most if not all of chemistry.  The text samples the Wikipedia article on the Exclusion Principle.









Ian Gibbins is a widely published poet, video artist and electronic musician with four collections of poetry, all in collaboration with artists.  His video and audio work has featured in gallery exhibitions, public art commissions, performances and international festivals.  He previously was a neuroscientist and professor of anatomy.  Ian Gibbins is online at