Alice Calaprice, Daniel Kennefick, & Robert Schulmann, “An Einstein Encyclopedia,” Princeton University Press.

It’s the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of relativity and that is occasion enough for another work by three leading Einstein scholars, who have produced what the Princeton University Press calls “the single most complete guide to Albert Einstein’s life and work for students, researchers, and browsers alike.”

Drawing on “their combined wealth of expertise gained during their work on the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, this authoritative and accessible reference features more than 100 entries (and 40 photographs) and is divided into three parts covering the personal, scientific, and public spheres of Einstein’s life.”

“An Einstein Encyclopedia” opens with Einstein’s words:

“Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.”

Edmund Keeley, “Requiem for Mary,” Greenhouse Review Press.

Edmund Keeley, a professor of English and creative writing at Princeton for nearly 40 years until his retirement in 1993, spent much of his childhood in Syria, Canada, and Greece. A Fulbright Scholar and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Keeley earned a doctorate in comparative literature from Oxford University in 1952.

A Princeton resident, Keeley has written eight novels, 14 volumes of poetry in translation, and 10 works of nonfiction. “Requiem for Mary” was written in memory of his wife of 61 years, Mary Stathato-Kyris Keeley, who taught modern Greek at Princeton for several years and was a translator of modern Greek literature. She died in 2012

“The Molar” is one of seven in “Requiem for Mary,” each in its own way an ode to simple things in life that remind the poet of a loss that will not be forgotten.

The Molar

That molar will have to go,

the dentist said, no question,

root canal already

can’t do more for it.

The assistant nodded knowingly.

It may have been the nitrous,

the dying last of it anyway,

or some kind of sick nostalgia

but I yelled out almost inaudibly:

no, no, that molar must not go.

They stared at me, at each other.

That molar knows too much

I mumbled in my dream land,

it’s really been everywhere

tasted all I’ve known,

every sip of life

beyond my mother’s milk

to tastes more sensual,

more subtle in time

depending on the town,

the shore, the seaside table

where my life-long companion

could pass her plate to me

with some exotic sauce

to cover the rough flesh

I’d chosen out of ignorance,

or share some new discovery

more tender, more surprising

along with rooms that followed,

their lavender and jasmine

wafting in the heat

the calmer dawn,

and oh life after that

its radiant possibilities,

no, no that molar mustn’t go,

you simply have to save it

if you possibly can.

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