The Poetry of Science or the Science of Poetry?
In my humble opinion, there isn’t a contrast between poetry and science. Intertwined within the analyses and careful calculations of the scientist is the tender fascination of the poet. Without poetry, science would find no inspiration to explore the world and its intricacies. Science may have the power in our society; it reaps the benefits of grant money and it sways social thought and action. It can even save lives. However, as we learned in Saturday by Ian McEwan, poetry can also save lives. Poetry communicates a feeling from one poet’s soul to another. Poetry forms bridges; it connects people in their love, rapture, curiosity, hatred, or pain. The poet must use the same skills as the scientist to organize his thoughts and decipher the meaning within his emotion. Without the poet’s help, the scientist would not know how to feel and without the scientist the poet would not know how to think.
I have posted a small selection from “The Botanic Garden” by Erasmus Darwin. I hope, after reading, that you will agree that the scientist and the poet are eternally bound.
“And second planets issue from the first;
Bend, as they journey with projectile force,
In bright ellipses their reluctant course ;
Orbs wheel in orbs, round centres centres roll,
And form, self-balanced, one revolving whole.
—Onward they move amid their bright abode,
Space without bound, the bosom of their God !
II. ” Ethereal Powers ! you chase the shooting stars,
Or yoke the vollied lightnings to your cars,
The meteors called shooting stars, the lightning, the rainbow, and the clouds,
are phenomena of tha Cling round the aerial bow with prisms bright,
And pleased untwist the sevenfold threads of light;
Eve’s silken couch with gorgeous tints adorn,
And fire the arrowy throne of rising Morn.
Or, plumed with flame, in gay battalions spring
To brighter regions borne on broader wing ;
Where lighter gases, circumfused on high,
Form the vast concave of exterior sky ;
With airy lens the scatter’d rays assault,
And bend the twilight round the dusky vault;
Ride, with broad eye and scintillating hair,
The rapid fire-ball through the midnight air ;”
– Laura Y.