Quarks ‘n’ Genes (Some Subatomic, Electronic, and Molecular Musings)



[Note: As this is Labor Day Weekend, my brain is taking a holiday from blogging, and I am reaching back into my personal archives for a poem I wrote nearly two decades ago.]


I’m trying to fathom this wondrous new world
Of black holes revealed and of wormholes uncurled,
Of hyperspace, cyberspace, space here and there,
Of DNA fingerprints gleaned from a hair.

The pace of discovery moves with such speed,
I’m filled with uncertainty how to proceed;
My questions hang low in the particled air:
In the tenth dimension, just what shall I wear?

If the Internet takes me to places abroad,
Can I get past Ohio on 1200 baud?
Will stop bit and bytes move me well on my way…
Or maybe a megahertz, rented by day?

If matter’s reduced to equations quite neat,
Will philosophers fold up their tents in defeat?
If life is explained by the genetic code,
Are love and free will merely bumps on the road?

I’d rather a vision with chaos and clutter,
A messier cosmos would not make me shudder,
The magic of randomness governed by chance
Leaves more room for wonder…and awe…and romance.

Do you find this a fun backward look—or merely dated doggerel? Actually, I think if we’ve learned anything in the past couple of decades, it’s that everything is more complicated than was initially proposed. No worries about putting philosophers out of business any time soon.

And in truth, I’m having a harder time celebrating chaos and clutter and a messier cosmos in 2019, when we seem to be surrounded by an overabundance thereof.

But perhaps (mindfully speaking), that’s even more reason for us to seek out wonder…and awe…and romance!

Enjoy the long weekend. And if you’re reading this in a non-Labor Day country, just enjoy!


20 thoughts on “Quarks ‘n’ Genes (Some Subatomic, Electronic, and Molecular Musings)

    1. Thanks so much, Caz. As to your question, I’m not sure what I decided to wear in the tenth dimension, but I’m fairly sure that whatever it was won’t fit me now!

      Warmest regards to you. I hope you are resting and resolving the details of your bureaucratic snafus! xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Len.

      I’m kinda fond of science for a lot of things in addition to medical emergencies—such as trying to persuade us that we need to act promptly to protect our planet!
      (Couldn’t resist a little friendly dig…😊)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Restful weekend . . . aspirational! I’m going to unplug, leave off on the household and garden, smell the delicious, much-needed rain . . . and rest. Hope you will too, Annie. The messy world will still be there in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Christopher. I’m so pleased that you like it. I wrote it in 1995, and though I may be conflating events, I think that was also the time I was steeped in the world of DNA, serving as Project Editor of a federally funded study of the ethical, legal, and social implications of the Human Genome Project. They called it ELSI, and I recall being a bit cowed by it all. (That’s a little pun; as you’re fully familiar with all things Americana, I suspect you may “get” it.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The best line — the one that gives the voice the most personality — with a wry touch of Emily Dickinson — is “In the tenth dimension, just what shall I wear?” The last line is great, too. I share your ambivalence toward chaos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “With a wry touch of Emily Dickinson”? I can dine on that comment for at least a month. I’ve written just a few poems—in part because though I love rhyme, somewhere along the way a surly academic persuaded me that a true poet eschews rhyme. Never mind Shakespeare, Chaucer, et al. But since a poet whose work just blew me away has given me such generous encouragement, perhaps It’s time to try more rhyme. Thanks very much, Gary.


      1. In partial defense of your surly academic, it does indeed take a lot of effort and subtlety to make rhyme relevant for the modern audience, but you are well on the way (and no better guide than Emily Dickinson).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Perhaps I misunderstood the opinionated learned gentleman, but I recall he was simply anti-rhyme, period, thinking it could never rise above the level of doggerel.
        But thank you again for linking Emily Dickinson and me in the same sentence!

        Liked by 1 person

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