Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

NPM: #13–how history does not sit still

I think I missed an opportunity. Had I known I would be teaching English, especially British literature, I would have minored in history. One cannot properly elucidate on the fineries of poems, prose, and short storis without dipping into the times of the work. There is a definite “why” as to “why” something is written. A mathematical equation of History times People to the greater value of Events–something like that. Which is why I didn’t get on so while in Mathematics.

Howard Altmann explains history’s restless nature. I almost imagine it as a cat that tiptoes around the room, exploring its way about. Or as that sunbeam or shaft of light that panders its way from the chair to the floor to the wall. Here’s the poem and here’s what he said about it:

About This Poem

“This short poem was conceived in Lisbon, where the light never rests on its laurels. It was put to bed a few years later in New York City, where the light crowds out the stars.”
—Howard Altmann (


image: paulabflat/morguefile

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7 thoughts on “NPM: #13–how history does not sit still

  1. I do love to read around the literature I pick up, it brings an extra dimension, a deeper understanding. I like the phrase ‘A mathematical equation of History times People to the greater value of Events’, that is the best sum I have seen in with letters in it.

  2. Thanks. I really hoped it made sense to others because it is almost nonsensical in its logic.

  3. As an engineer, I had no idea how literature and history were intertwined until I returned for my MFA. Learned soooo much in the span of three years.

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