Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quantum Sonnet








Okay, so I was reading about sub-atomic particles last night, and from I gathered (not much more than a few sub-atomic particles of knowledge, alas), scientists used to think light manifested itself in the form of waves, but now they think it manifests itself in the form of particle-bursts, also known as quanta. Apparently, this comparatively new way of think about light has resulted in a redefinition of the atom, which when I was in high school was represented as a kind of planet orbited by moons--all very orderly, circles and dots. Now, because of quantum-theory, there's no telling where those "moons"--or sub-atomic particles-- might be. Then there's this thing called a "quantum leap," which is a term lots of people throw around in all sorts of non-scientific contexts, including episodic television-programming. . Apparently a quantum leap--or jump--occurs when an electron is in one place and then in another place but not ever in the place in between. That's right. It disappears, and then it reappears. I think scientists should be pretty darned careful about accusing spiritual people of believing in things they can't see. It seems one has to have faith in quantum theory.

At any rate, I decided to write a sonnet based on last night's reading. More is the pity.

Quantum Sonnet


Electrons here, electrons there, but no
Transition anywhere. They disappear.
They reappear--a quantum jump--or so
It's been identified--not well, I fear.

For if the relocation were a jump,
The jumping thing would stay in view.
Electrons don't exactly make a whump
When landing after leap. I know it's true

They're ultra-small. Perhaps there is a sleight
Of light in sub-particulated world?
Or maybe God hides in a burst of light--
Photonic God, an energetic whirl

That makes and breaks the rules. Look there, look here,
But note that in-between does not appear.
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