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Chet Raymo, “The World Is Beautiful”

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 18:25
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“The World Is Beautiful”
by Chet Raymo
    “That strange flower, the sun,
    Is just what you say.
    Have it your way.

    The world is ugly,
    And the people are sad.

    That tuft of jungle feathers,
    That animal eye,
    Is just what you say.

    That savage of fire,
    That seed,
    Have it your way.

    The world is ugly,
    And the people are sad.”

    – Wallace Stevens

I’ll have it both ways. I’ll have that strange flower. I’ll have that ball of seething hydrogen, the magnetic storms, the arching flares. I’ll have that tuft of jungle feathers. I’ll have that thermonuclear furnace, a temperature of 10 million degrees, protons fusing, mass converted into energy, energy roiling to the surface.

Just as I say.

I’ll have that animal eye, Henri Rousseau’s red savage of fire. I’ll have that savage colossus. Look! I’ve added a white dot to the photo at top, in the upper left-hand corner. The size of the Earth.

I’ll have it that way.

I’ll have that seed, that primeval force, that green fuse. I’ll have that radiant tether, eight light-minutes long. I’ll have that flood of solar neutrinos coursing through my body. The heat on my skin. The sunrise. The sunset. The aurora.

Yes, that way. Both ways.

Beautiful. Glad.”


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