Poets Who Speak of Jupiter

In the third chapter of the first volume of his legendary physics lectures, Richard Feynman discusses the relation of physics to other sciences. He says that astronomy got physics started, and its most remarkable discovery is that stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth.

He adds this famous digression in a footnote:

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars—mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is “mere.” I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination—stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern—of which I am a part—perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten star, as one is belching there. Or see them with the greater eye of Palomar, rushing all apart from some common starting point when they were perhaps all together. What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined! Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?

I try to use this footnote as seed for poetry: Cut it into brief lines, search for each line with DuckDuckGo – using the option -feynman to avoid finding the original quote again, pick a text snippet from the first search result, make it the ‘response’ of the Feynman line, process line after line, no going back and further editing allowed.

~

How I’m rushing through this!
they assume it’s no problem for you

How much each sentence in this brief story contains.
There was a brief pause

“The stars are made of the same atoms as the earth.”
We need to be ready for whatever comes next.

I usually pick one small topic like this to give a lecture on.
overcome your urge to avoid it

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars – mere globs of gas atoms.
I hope you’ll experience the same.

Nothing is “mere.”
being nothing more

I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them.
It’s completely dark

But do I see less or more?
describe a color, or what that color means

The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination
It is idle to argue with God

stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light.
reality is less novel and magical

A vast pattern – of which I am a part — perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten star,
My humiliation was worse than that.

as one is belching there.
as a nervous habit

Or see them with the greater eye of Palomar,
That passion cannot rule.

rushing all apart from some common starting point when they were perhaps all together.
Have you ever tried slowing down

What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why?
a golden robe embroidered with red and purple

It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it.
beyond the memorization of their lectures and textbooks

For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined!
to seize the mystery that breathes behind things

Why do the poets of the present not speak of it?
it may go unnoticed as a whisper in the noise

What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man,
his verse is entirely of a religious nature

but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?
this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages

~

_____

The wormhole image was created as described in the post Infinity.

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