April 21, 2016

Pure Science



Titanium skaters on lakes of metallic hydrogen
Strew constant curves of crystalline
Isotopes of orange uranium
All about our vacant house.

Enigmas of equations
Slide lattices to rest
In beds of powdered strontium,
Molding energy as form suggests.

In the place of flux we find new forms,
And our flux-formed spaces fold
The charms of magnet's fever
Which conduct the core from pole to pole.


The whiteness of Earth's silence
Is an eye that stares on space.
Orbits chart it ceaselessly,
Etching paradigms of lace.

The inner of Earth's outer
Is a torus twisted twice.
Balloons ascend within it
Claiming shadows are the room.


What can the mind of silence hear
Other than a whiteness past recall?
It evolves from our epicenters,
Stretches measureless as sound,

Or is seen as the floor of the void
Where the whine of protons stills
In the drifts of chromium snow,
Where we gaze upon the bones of matter bare.

At times, men in aluminum cloaks
Descend the neutron ladder,
And move in a sleet of particles
Too scintillating for instruments to record.

At times, men in groups descend
Through the smoke of the universe,
To tend the embers, imprison flame.
Their cascading dance sparkles,

We taste... the afterimage of events.
Below us, pale and silent,
The plutonium leaves rustle and arabesque
Through radiant silences of solid helium.


Sometimes it seems I had a dream and as that dreamer woke immersed in mineral baths closed within a cool, dark chamber fed by streams flowing in from the center of nowhere.

Hanging from the granite ceiling a kerosene lantern cast shards of light through the pale steam rising from the surface of the pools. Ripples radiated outwards from the edges of my body and tapping faintly on the rock revealed in echoes the edges of the chamber.

Outside I could hear the wind slide across the spine of the mountains speaking in a language that I remembered but could no longer understand. Steam filled my nostrils and heat penetrated my bones until, after a time, I had no body, only a sense of silence and distance and calm, as if I had just woken from all water into dream.


Posted by Vanderleun at April 21, 2016 1:37 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Like I always say, the dual gyrescape in which man lives for a trice is just the inner of Earth's outer in a torus twisted twice.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at January 3, 2010 10:56 AM

Somehow I knew you would in the future always say that.

Posted by: vanderleun at January 3, 2010 11:19 AM

Uh-oh. I've stumbled into an M.C. Escher world, when I was only looking for the land beyond the looking glass . . .

Posted by: Alice at January 3, 2010 1:38 PM


Science put to poetry - without snark, no less.

To boldly go where no one has gone before...

Posted by: Cond0010 at January 3, 2010 4:03 PM

I came to God profoundly (but not Christ for another two decades) in engineering school studying E=mc2, the laws of thermo and Bernoulli's equation. All physics equations lead to God if we let 'em. Never quite understood what happened to Hawking, what wires got crossed that made him the world's most vociferous and sad aetheist...just doesn't compute to me.

Posted by: Webutante at January 3, 2010 5:36 PM

Hawking is actually agnostic.

Perhaps you're thinking of Dawkins. Which itself is an interesting story, because a hundred years ago it was the biologists who were champions of final causation or "elan vital," while physicists were the party-pooping mechanists. Now it's the reverse -- most elite physicists are perfectly willing to concede that the laws of physics imply a platonic intelligence (it's hardly disputable), whereas the biologists are the naively mechanistic 19th century anti-intellectuals, a la Charles the Queeg.

As a discarnate colleague of mine says, a little science inclineth a man's mind toward atheism, while a lot of it inclineth a man to "slap his momma."

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at January 3, 2010 6:23 PM

Actually, Bob, you are correct. I did mean Dawkins. I definitely need supervision when it comes to slinging grandee scientists' names around the Web....Would you believe currently perched on my bedside tableau is my current main literary squeeze, "The Dawkins Letters" by David Robertson debunking some of Dawkins most egregious Biblical presumptions? Thank you for keeping me aetheistically pure....

Posted by: Webutante at January 3, 2010 6:39 PM

Fascinating, Webutante. I was sent the other direction in engineering school, although I was moved by the thought while writing proofs that my brain was firing synapses in ways and patterns similar to some of the greatest scientific minds ever. I don't mean to compare myself to Einstein. But the connection I felt to my fellow man at those moments was transcendent.

What brought me to God (and eventually Christ) was a deepening appreciation for Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian values at its foundation. I had been enjoying the fruits of the labors of the faithful. The gratitude I feel for the living at the pinnacle of Western Civilization in America demands that I do my part.

As to Dawkins, Thomas Sowell explains "Intellectuals and Society" in his new book. He doesn't mention it in this first segment of Uncommon Knowledge, but I've heard him use the phrase, "beyond his competence," which is very apt, don't you think?


The temptations of fame and power are overwhelming to these people. Otherwise Dawkins, Chompsky, et al, would only be known within their field of competence. I'm not sure what that would be in Obama's case as his record of accomplishment in anything other than getting published and getting elected is nil.

Posted by: Western Chauvinist at January 4, 2010 7:40 AM

Thank you for that wonderful link and Sowell interview, Western Chauvinist. I couldn't agree more.

Not to belabor my first conversion, but when working some of those physics equations way back when, I kept thinking there was no way described in the equations for the known world to disappear completely. Sure energy and matter are interchangeable and sure much energy goes to entropy. Still, some form of it always contnues to exist....and if it exists well then I reasoned there is a First Exister/Cause....

Then I would ponder for hours the chain of existence: The Always-Existent Word/First Thinker, the banging explosion of light, the amping down of light to motion, heat, electromagnetic fields then amping down even further to the densest form of energy----matter.

It made sense to me at least and began to turn my life back to God and wonder, after I had walked away from it all years earlier.

Posted by: Webutante at January 4, 2010 9:26 AM

Perhaps people like Dawkins are needed as a counterbalance to the lunatics on the other side who want to deny the truth of evolution altogether - and in some particularly extreme cases pretty well the whole of geology, physics, astronomy and astrophysics as well.

"God did it" is not an acceptable explanation for anything at all.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at January 21, 2012 12:20 PM

Actually, "God did it" pretty much explains you better than anything else.

Posted by: vanderleun at January 21, 2012 5:24 PM

Quite elegant.
I look forward to reading it again.

Posted by: DeAnn at April 21, 2016 5:30 AM