So what then?

Energy, frequency and vibration—
the stuff of heartbeats, tears and confessions.
But when they’re gone, be warned,
begging counts for nothing
and scales hold for everything.

So best blame me, if blame me you can,
or want, or must and honestly, I’d agree,
if no one else—but let’s face it:
you may have longed to hear the sound
pealing boldly in the night,
but when you could have pulled the rope
you failed to ring the bell.

Nikola Tesla was a brilliant electrical engineer, physicist and inventor, who, sadly, despite his genius, died penniless and in debt. The first line of the poem comes from a quote by him: If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.

Which got me thinking: what if you are just looking for is the secret to your own life? and what do you do when you’re dead?

Thank you for reading so what then?. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge,


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11 responses to “So what then?

  1. John, I enjoyed your poem. Interesting thoughts indeed. I am a fan of Tesla’s work for which he took no patents out. Have you see ‘The Prestige’? Tesla is portrayed in it by David Bowie–a must see film.>KB

    • KB, thank you. Your suggesting ‘The Prestige’ reminds me that I had wanted to see that movie and, in fact, the other magic-themed movie of that year, ‘The Illusionist’, and failed to see both. I’ll have to add them to my Netflix list soon.

      • I probably watch ‘The Illusionist’ once every month or so–Phillip Glass wrote the soundtrack. They are both very dfifferent films but very worth the time.>KB

      • I did not know that! Philip Glass is my favorite modern composers! I remember being blown away the first time I heard ‘The Late Great Johnny Ace’ by Paul Simon and being haunted that it ended with a melody I knew and could not place. Eventually I got it: Glass’ Akhnaten. Just amazing…

      • I have almost every soundtrack and classical piece he’s done. Are you familiar with the film triology of Kwoyaniskatsi? (I may have butchered the spelling but if you haven’t I can give you the inmformation-such pure Glass, they are beautiful to watch and to just listen to.)>KB

      • Actually, I never heard of it, although what I was just able to hear of it on the net makes it seem vintage Glass. While I rank him foremost of living conductors, I don’t have a lot of his works. ‘Einstein on the Beach’, selections from ‘Akhnaten’, his violin concerto, his cello concerto, and that odd re-working of the Dracula soundtrack he did with the Kronos Quartet (which I saw live)…that’a about it. I had not even realized that he has done so much film work until I searched his name through Amazon. The Illusionist is now top of my list to see.

  2. John,
    As usual, I love hearing about your inspiration to your work. Those words obviously spoke out to you, and it would seem, you had an answer. Beautiful work.

    • Thank you very much, you are being very kind. I am (full disclosure here) planning on really abusing your ears sometime soon by releasing a post “On Writing Poetry” in which I discuss how I go about developing a poem. Several people have been asking me about it lately and I thought rather than put it in a series of emails, I would really try to gather my thoughts and put it down, more for me than anyone else. If nothing else, it will be a great insomnia cure!

  3. I lovely way to start a poem … and this poem develops well from there on out …