Science and the Soul

The Size of Greatness

When I was younger and dumber

only a boy in the 8th grade,

my science teacher told us, not to mess around thinking

how big the universe is.

He said it would make us crazy,

imagining beyond

The Milky Way.

Our 8th Grade science book asserted:

all of everything that was

had the same name as a candy bar,

one big bundle of stars.

The Universe beyond was black,

in 1962,

darkness only,

all the way.

Thinking on it,

refusing good advice,

I traveled in the darkness

on and on

until the fear

of falling on forever

brought me back.

Then I heard my science book was wrong,

and had been wrong since 1929.

All along the teachers knew

the Universe was bigger.

Hubble sucked his pipe in ’29

watching galaxies fly away.

Blue light

becoming red,

the distances


The Crash of ’29

nothing to compare.


by the estimated billions,

a Universe expanding,

a Big Bang theory

gaining  sway.

And so they knew.

And kept the science books the same for forty years,

The Milky Way

was all the truth they gave us.

Me and you, and all of us

were specks too small

to know:

the size of greatness here on Earth

was but a joke

to keep us buying candy bars.

Teachers taught us

to pull the plows of commerce,

pay the taxes due,

fight the wars they made for peace.

Eat your Milky Way, they said,

don’t contemplate the size of greatness,

disregard the light.

Don’t look up, you’ll lose your marbles.

Let the grindstone only

be your tragic view.

Immortal as we are,

the human life we live

is but a quest

to marry science

and the soul.

To live forever now

look up and loose yourself,

you’re just a speck of light.