Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lucretian Poems

The Fragile Inheritance of Ideas

For as children tremble and fear everything in the blind darkness, 
so we in the light sometimes fear what is no more to be feared 
than the things children in the dark hold in terror and imagine will come true.
 - Lucretius, On the Nature of Things

When paper crumbles into dust 
We discover what humans must
Believe and hold closely, tightly,
Knowing that these ideas will ever brightly
shine as a beacon for the ages.

When the thoughts of genius slowly fade
Into the long night of disorder, what made
Our world dark?  Who is to blame for the long
Ride into chaotic ignorance?  No song
Of innocence will end our human rages.

When the genius of a few raise the hope
Of the many, their light exceeds the scope
Of humanity's dreams.  This is exciting news
For those who dream of knowledge they can use.
The ideas of dreamers last for the ages.

- James Henderson, September, 2011 

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"See you not that even stones are conquered by time." 
- Lucretius, On the Nature of Things

This fright, this night of mindless time
Will lead us on to endless flux,
When we see in nature solid rocks
Succumb to inevitable decay.

This lack of care, this unconcern, may
Seem to be unreal, but demonstration
Of nature's power, it is ruthless
Relentless motion at play.

This place, this fixed universe weights
Time and brings its flow
To a halt. We humans move onward
Making our own different way.

- James Henderson, February 1992 (rev. 2009)

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