Tretheway’s “Theories of Space and Time”

Tretheway’s (2007) poem, “Theories of Space and Time,” is about the past being unapproachable, regardless of how hard one tries to trace the good old routes that brought joy in the good old past. She writes, “You can get there from here, though/ there’s no going home (Tretheway). ” The poet assumes that almost everybody is searching for the joy that was once called home, which is why she refers to “you (Tretheway). ” A home is a place of safety and protection; unlike the word, ‘house,’ the word ‘home’ refers to a place that is comfortable enough for the individual to find rest.

Houses may be empty, but homes are where their dwellers find peace. The fact that the poet’s focus on trying to get home is revealed right in the beginning of the poem makes it clear that she would like to understand why she cannot go home through the theories of space and time. According to the poet, “where you board the boat for Ship Island,/ someone will take your picture:/ the photograph – who you were –/ will be waiting when you return (Tretheway).

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” These lines end the poem about theories of space and time.

Why does the poet try to reach the past with the application or understanding of these theories? Of course, such theories state that both space and time are relative concepts rather than absolutes. Quantum physicists assert that human beings cannot even tell whether that which they perceive with their five senses is for real.

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Moreover, time may appear to slow down or speed up, depending on the perceiver and his or her situations in the space that he or she appears to occupy.

In short, such theories have led scientists and spiritualists to maintain that everything that an individual knows about his or her world may in fact be a falsehood, seeing that scientists cannot even prove whether matter (that which everything seems to be made of) is for real. The poet would like to time travel to get home. She writes, “Everywhere you go will be somewhere/ you’ve never been. Try this:” before she guides the reader to “head south on Mississippi 49 (Tretheway). ” Theories of space and time maintain that time travel is absolutely possible.

But, the poet seems to be struggling with the fact that she cannot get home as the person she was when she left it. The “photograph” mentioned in the second last line of the poem may only capture what “you were” like at the moment the photograph was taken in the space that the reader was given to occupy in that moment (Tretheway). If the poet were to bring out old family albums to look at pictures of herself in her home, she would only see the person she was at the time the pictures were taken.

It is not possible for her to return to that home in the time that the photograph was taken. Even so, the fact that her desire to get home is entitled, “Theories of Space and Time” makes the reader confident that she may perhaps find a way to get home after all. Scientists do not lose hope; for them, even the skies are not the limit. Undoubtedly, the poet would like to reconsider their theories and find a way to get where she had felt belonged at a certain point in time.

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Tretheway’s “Theories of Space and Time”. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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