Poetry and Science: My Course Correction

September 11, 2017

 

Today I’d like to exhale long and offer you all a poem. It’s one that I wrote, which is the reason for that long out-breath. Sharing from the heart feels vulnerable, and breathing out helps me with that.

I’ve been writing poems for years. I absolutely love writing them. And, I am happy for this occasion to share one with you.

But, there’s also part of me that thinks poems don’t matter, aren’t important like, say, science. In my inner hierarchy, which (like everyone’s) is partly built on unconsciously downloaded societal messages, poetry doesn’t rate. It’s frivolous, old fashioned, and it doesn’t pay the oil bill.

According to Robert Eskridge, “Science and art naturally overlap. Both are a means of investigation. Both involve ideas, theories, and hypotheses that are tested in places where mind and hand come together… Artists, like scientists, study—materials, people, culture, history, religion, mythology— and learn to transform information into something else.” (2013.)

For me, writing poetry turns pain into beauty. It’s an alchemical, liberating undertaking that encompasses the joy of sharing. There’s a depth of listening/seeing/knowing involved which is as startling, truthful, and as elegant as E=MC2. A certain valuable kind of spaciousness is transmitted through poems.

So, this post initiates the rewiring of my subconscious views through conscious action. It’s an invitation to my inner life, and to any of you who would like to join me, to let go enough to hold both reason and mystery. Starting now, I’m developing a new mental habit:

In my heart, science and poetry sit side by side, recognized as the loving siblings they are, born from human consciousness, who sometimes, over the centuries, squabble, like all sisters and brothers do. I can see them now, sitting on a bridge dangling their feet over the water below, dropping pebbles into the stream and wondering together about the great paradoxes of living.

 

 

 

Enjoy the poem!

 

Both And

Both a Kali Yuga and a Golden Age
reveal themselves,
kaleidoscopic,
as our blazing material preoccupations zenith
and streak across our growing consciousness
like some slow, hot, shooting star
just about to blast this blue green earth.

Collaboration and conflict wake up
blinking at one another,
surprised by the brightness,
awkwardly comfortable,
sharing space like an old married couple
lying side by side in single beds.

We have lived long enough now
to feel
with the clarity that only comes from within
both
the insubstantiality, the effervescence
and
the shy inarticulate emerging of
a humble and potent peace.

We can see now
that kindness,
call it kinship even,
is both optional and required,
that friendship is
the most essential course correction
we must endlessly make.

 

(Note: A Kali Yuga is a dark age or an age of vice.)

Reference

Eskridge, R. (2003, January 7). The enduring relationship of science and art. Retrieved from http://www.artic.edu/aic/education/sciarttech/2a1.html1

 

This blog post was originally posted at UMass Medical School CFM Home

 

 

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