Latin term for a perpetual motion device. A device (thermodynamically closed system) that achieves motion which can be used to do work (i.e. a closed exothermic reaction). Conceptually "weaker" versions (but essentially equivalent) are not-quite closed systems which exhibit motion at a fixed rate despite energy loss.

Forbidden by the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy) and the third law of thermodynamics (increase of entropy), depending on exact formulation. In other words, quite impossible; don't waste your time looking for one.

However, an excellent source of physics puzzles!

Poem by American poet William Carlos Williams from his 1936 book of poetry, Adam & Eve & The City. IMHO, one of his best pieces of work, which ranges from themes of lovers to that of racist hatred, to the beauty of "stars of matchless splendour" and "bright-edged clouds..."

—a dream
we dreamed
        each
separately
        we two

of love
        and of
desire

that fused
in the night

in the distance
        over
the meadows
        by day
impossible
        The city
disappeared
        when
we arrived—

        A dream
a little false

toward which
        now
we stand
        and stare
transfixed

All at once
        in the east
rising!

        All white!

        small

as a flower

a locust cluster
a shad bush
        blossoming

Over the swamps
        a wild
magnolia bud—
        greenish
white
a northern
flower—
And so
        we live
        looking-

At night
        it wakes
On the black
        sky-

a dream
        toward which
we love
at night
        more
than a little
        false-

We have bred
we have dug
we have figured up
our costs
we have bought
an old rug—

We batter at our
unsatisfactory         brilliance
-

There is no end
        to desire
-

Let us break
        through
and go there—

in
        vain!

delectable
        amusement
:

Milling about—

Money! in
armored trucks—
Two men         walking
at two paces from         each other
their right hands
        at the hip-
on the butt of
an automatic
till they themselves
hold up the bank
and themselves
        drive off

for themselves-
        the money
in an armored car-

        For love!

Carefully
        carefullytying
carefully

        selected
wisps of long
dark hair

        wisp

by wisp
upon the stubs
of his kinky wool
For two hours
        they worked-

        until
he coiled
        the thick
knot upon
that whorish
        head-

Dragged
        Insensible
upon his face
by the lines—

—a running horse

        For love.

Their eyes
        blown out-

for love, for love!

Neither the rain
Nor the storm—
can keep them

        for love!

from the daily
accomplishment

        of their
appointed rounds—

Guzzling
the creamy foods
        while
out of sight
        in
the sub-cellar—
the waste fat
the old vegetable
        chucked down
a chute
        the foulest
sink in the world—

And go
on the out-tide
ten thousands
        cots
floating to sea
        like weed
that held back
the pristine ships—

And fattened there
an eel
in the water pipe—

        No end-

There!

        There!

There!

        -a dream
of lights
        hiding

the iron reason
        and stone
a settled
        cloud
-

City

        whose
stars
of matchless
        splendour-

        and
in bright-edged
        clouds
the moon

        bring

silence

        breathlessly-

Tearful city
        on a summer's day
the hard grey
        dwindling
in a wall of
        rain-

        farewell!


Williams began to play more with the rules of mechanics and language later on in his career, and a perfect example of this is Perpetuum Mobile: The City from Adam & Eve & the City, which was published in 1936. In this poem, the first sentence has a much different structure from his usual work, with a tone that is actually quite similar to E. E. Cummings in his use of language and his word placement:

-a dream/ we dreamed/ each/ separately/ we two// of love/ and of/ desire-// that fused/ in the night.

He then weaves this thought among phrases describing a city, and his life there with a partner. There also seems to be a cynical, yet still-hopeful yearning about his life:

We batter at our/ unsatisfactory/ brilliance-/...Let us break/ through/ and go there.

This much more personal glimpse into the life of Williams is characteristic of his later works, as he leaves behind the patronizing tone heard in Riposte. Williams then tells various short stories about various acts of violence, from a bank robbery to an act of hate against an African-American man, and ends them with the exclamatory phrases For love! For love. -for love, for love! with his message implying that these horrendous ‘daily accomplishment(s)’ are anything but love.

Interestingly, the structure of the poem is a bit closer to the poems of E.E. Cummings, in that he cuts up the sentences with space, and he uses punctuation, such as exclamation points, to put more power in his words. Furthermore, Williams seems more comfortable with syntax, as he overlaps a sentence upon itself, becoming almost repetitive:

Carefully/ carefully tying/ carefully// selected/ wisps of long/ dark hair/ wisp/ by wisp.

This technique affects the imagery, as the scene is slowly revealed to the reader. In this way, Perpetuum Mobile is really quite close to a stream of consciousness style for Williams, though at times it reads more like a series of memories and bits of newspaper articles, and then comments on those, as opposed to the relatively mono-stylistic method of Cummings.

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