Monday, June 22, 2015

Uncertainty . . .

     Sometimes we find things of great value when we are looking for something else -- in fact, Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges has said, The best way to find a good thing is to go looking for something else . . .
     One of my recent stumbles (while looking for work by Borges) was onto the website of Robert Ronnow -- and I have found it a fun place to browse.  Here is a sample, a poem from his recent collection, The Scientific Way to Do Mathematics:

Uncertainty       by Robert Ronnow

                                                       --with a line by Pico Iyer

There cannot be two identical things in the world. Two
hydrogen atoms
offer infinite locations within their shells for electrons.
Thus, nothing can be definitely eventually known. 

All to the good
because golf and chess and basketball, as well as
mathematics, language and genetic recombination
are systems
for discovering the possible (which is more attractive than
the probable)
in what we thought we thought about the sun and clouds.

In Borges’ The Parable of the Palace, the poet’s attempt
to replicate
the world in a word results in what, surprisingly, is
his termination
personal obliteration a piece of anti-matter that
occupies no known shell in this or any other instantiation.
Got the plot?
We are “moving through some allegory between a City of Hope,
where history
has been abolished, and a City of History, where hope can be slipped

     in  only
as contraband.”

Actually, the recombinations
which make prediction and intuition fortunately hopeless and each 

an experiment
gone well or wrong, are represented by equations of such complexity
they differ
not at all from the very stars and neurons whose interactions we wish
to count.
The world keeps up or ahead of the collective attention span by offering
inexorable expansion
or otherwise rapidly contracting universes, big bang by big crunch.

I like that, I like that I can’t know what I’m doing (until it’s done).  

faith and understanding
(hope and history) become one absolutely fluid quantum motion, a 

     lovely early
Spring morning
a thunderstorm, a terrifying and (for someone) final tornado 

     or volcano.
Oh well.
From his earliest published work, Ronnow displays a fascination with 

the world without the self, a ridiculous consideration considering 

geological pace
6.5 x 1010 sunsets and sunrises over mountains and deserts (for every
merchant, traveler)
themselves rising and setting via magmas, oceans, tectonics, meteors, 


Do your homework I said to Zach. Why bother was his attitude.
I explained
time is an illusion, an invention man made, there is only change. Birds
know this.
But the calendar and colors, genus and species, bacteria and galaxies,
are the innumerable wonders about which Sophocles said man’s
most wonderful
why because we identify or classify birds by the complexity or beauty
of their songs.

Copyright 2013 by Robert Ronnow. 

Here is a link to Ronnow's Communicating the Bird -- in which you can find "The Invention of Zero," and "Number and Verse."

No comments:

Post a Comment