Fluorescence

Beyond the edges of the visible spectrum
(that spectacle of colour that sometimes
arcs above us when sunlight falls on raincloud
at a particular angle) another light moves
about us unregistered by the human eye:
the soft warmth of infrared beyond scarlet
to harsh, unforgiving ultraviolet past
darkest indigo.

And sometimes another strange thing
happens. Such hidden frequencies can fall
on rare and peculiar substances that steal
this light in atomic resonance, their electrons
excited to a higher state before falling down
to a lower level, returning such unseen light
back to us as iridescent colour.

And sometimes too the mind can change
in such a manner as a thought ignites
by hidden frequencies: like that day I sat
in the old mathematics library under
the insistent glare of the fluorescent lighting,
to look up from my page to see, across
the width of a table, the face of a girl
opposite and the cornflower blue of her eyes
glancing upward.

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