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Thursday, 7 March 2013

A beam of light.



Before we split the atom
we split light,
a simple glass contraption
did the job.
From a single beam of white
we made a seven-stranded wonder,
violet to red
and every child in Christendom
could play with them.

The atom, though,
was such a great advance on that!
It made it possible
to vaporise a man
and leave him on a boulder
or a wall -- a work of art
to stir the minds of man
into imaginations
never known before. Even Raphael in all
his prime could not approach
the elusiveness of pastel shades,
the subtleties of shape,
the eloquence of line and silhouette
that splitting atoms brought into the world.

Oh yes, my friend,
it's been a huge advance for science --
see how far we've come! --
since first we split a simple ray of light.



Written for Poetry Jam's prompt and image : Prism.

19 comments:

Mary said...

Oh yes, Dave, we surely have come a long way since humans learned to split light. Comparing that to splitting the atom - wow, indeed that made possible so many more possibilities than splitting light...not all of them positive! Definitely a thought-provoking poem from you this morning!

Laurie Kolp said...

A marvel it is... prisms are so beautiful.

Brian Miller said...

ugh...is it not scary how far we have come...to imprint a life on a rock by vaporization...not our crowning achievement i would say....and now n korea is vowing to launch a nuke at the US...wooweeh! ack....nice take on the prompt man...

kaykuala said...

Man ponders how it had been since days of the atom split! Sounds of nobility could be readily seen! Nicely Dave!

Hank

The Weaver of Grass said...

I remember prisms which fascinated me as a child. As fro splitting the atom - the whole business is quite terrifying. I fear we shall end up destroying ourselves through no fault of the ordinary man and woman in the street.

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Loredana Donovan said...

Science has indeed come a long way from splitting light to splitting atoms. Despite being explained scientifically, what a prism does still looks like a little miracle to me :)

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I was impressed by this poem at once..but first I was attracted by the picture which reminded me, with great nostalgia, to a Pink Floyd's album.
Thanks.

Tommaso

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I was impressed by this poem at once..but first I was attracted by the picture which reminded me, with great nostalgia, to a Pink Floyd's album.
Thanks.

alan1704 said...

work of art
to stir the minds of man
into imaginations
never known before.

Great words and this builds really nicely. I like it a lot. very different take and that makes it really interesting and thought provoking.

aprille said...

What will 'they' split next.

A Cuban In London said...

Marvellous poem, which reads and feels even better with that image of Pink Floyd's iconic Dark Side of the Moon. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Peggy said...

Indeed we have come very far with technology and I hope society can survive and thrive! It is a bit scary and amazing too to think about where technology will take us next.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

The mere concept that we can split light is just so profoundly amazing to me

The Elephant's Child said...

The one has always struck me as magic. The other too I suppose, but vaporising people could/should have stayed as science fiction.

haricot said...

And, I came to know that many imagination for ars and complicated phenomenon are due to the simple split of light.

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Dave King said...

Thanks everyone

There was agreat deal of unanimity in your replies. Perhaps aprille asked the question which hangs behind the fears of many for the future: What will they split next. So, too, the remark of The Weaver of Grass impressed me no end, that we shall end up destroying ourselves through no fault of the ordinary man or woman in the street. This, I think is the crux. What can we, individually do about it?

Perhaps I might add that in no way did I mean to belittle the wonder or the magic of the prism or the raindrop in splitting light. The contrast I made was intended to be entirely ironic.

Ygraine said...

Yes, the prism is so beautifully psychedelic...hypnotic, in fact.
But, with the splitting of the atom comes great responsibility...and the fear of where it will end!:/