The Stone And Reality
I picked up a stone,
A lump of flint,
And held it in my hand
That I might judge its reality.
It weighed heavy in my hand,
Solid and brittle.
The outside rounded
All chalky white,
Smooth with small holes
Speckling its surface,
Glimpses through the crust
To the darker kernel of its nature.
One side had sheered
Into a glassy sheet,
Alive with brown, grey and black hues,
As if my gaze could pierce into its deepness;
As if it were an aqueous liquid,
An undulating vitreous fluid
In which the shapes and colours flowed,
But it was only light playing on its surface.
The stone was impenetrable.
This brittle rock,
So easily shattered,
Have served us well in ages past,
As knives, arrow heads or scrapers,
But is this the reality of this stone?
The sum total of its being,
Isn’t there more?
Shouldn’t we not consider its history?
Born from great pressure in chalk,
Slowly crystallising within the strata
In the earth’s crust
Over millions of years.
Chemicals fusing to form these nodules.
Should we not go back further –
To the birth of those chemicals in distant stars –
In the nuclear holocaust inside a sun;
The Nova that spewed them forth into space;
The condensing into planets?
Or yet further back
To the hydrogen
That fuelled that fusion.
Or beyond that
To the Big Bang itself
When the fundamental particles
From which it was formed
Were created in a flash –
Into existence from nothing.
I held the stone
And slowly turned it in my hand.
Billions of years of change
Manifested itself before my senses.
Yet its reality was still elusive.
Should I not consider its molecular structure?
The atoms that it is made from?
The subatomic particles that lie within?
The network of forces binding it together?
The microcosm of my rock?
Should I not consider the energy it possesses?
The heat it radiates?
The light it reflects off every surface?
Its sound as I tap?
The radiation it emits as its atoms decay?
What was its reality?
I had barely scratched the surface.
I turned it slowly,
Examined it carefully,
Before tossing it away.
Opher – 26.7.2021
We are surrounded by mystery, complexity and wonder which we take for granted.
Everything is so much more complex than the reality we afford it.
Nothing is trivia.
I was thinking of Blake when I wrote this.