o The Frog Blog: Cosmic Gall by John Updike

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Cosmic Gall by John Updike

What! A poem? On the Frog Blog? But surely this is reserved for our English Blogging compatriots? But no, Cosmic Gall tells the story of the Neutrino, tiny elemental particles with no charge and no mass. Thousands pass through us every day, completely unnoticed. The picture above is of Austrain theorist Wolfgang Pauli (pictured here in 1933) who wrote a famous letter in which he dared to hypothesise the existence of a new particle - the particle now known as the Neutrino. Ms. Sheila Flynn, one of our Physics teachers recommended the poem to the blog and here it is:

Neutrinos they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And, scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
And painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
And pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed – you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.

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