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Monday 2 May 2011
Half a Story
Some men have always not believed in Chaos, known
that somewhere deep in Earth's unfathomable lockers,
locked away, marked "not to be revealed"
there were these complex patterns,
far beyond the reach of human understanding, to explain
how angels visit people in the night;
how simple sequences of numbers
can set the world alight;
how fractals, endlessly repeating
simple functions that we mastered back at school,
are diagrams and metaphors,
the alchemy of chemicals
from the powerhouse of the world.
When men like Koch and Mandelbrot ascended to the heights
and when they saw the peaks sunlit above the mist,
each peak in the next peak concealed, revealed, extending
to infinity, they knew they'd found the ancient stone
for turning simple plots to gold, and letting bleed a new eternity
into a world grown big - a stone that some had long since sensed.
Small voices warned, we may suppose, of "Only half a story - what
if we have only heard the ocean in a shell? If lower down,
below the mist, the complex plane that holds these mountains
in its hands, that fashioned them and told them where to stand,
what if its turbulence hides greater mysteries than these;
what if it holds the unifying thread that must not be unravelled;
the end, the hope, the consummation of our science and our story?"