A Measure of this World – Galileo’s Dialog with the Universe

A sample from

To Aristotle

Much of what Galileo studied and published ran contrary not just
to church teachings, but frequently and significantly against the
teaching of Aristotelian natural philosophy – the core science
curriculum of nearly every university in Europe at the time.

Esteemed philosopher, why,
with the sky the scar-strewn
playfield of your litany of gods,
would you link perfection to
an absence of blemishes?
Surely the olive is still perfect with
its pit and its bruised elliptical skin,
and even without my lens, the arc
of Luna’s deceptive mouth, visible
when she swings low and bright,
bespeaks a character of surface
true to the world we have been given.
In all your forums, those logical
collaborations, did no one think
to watch water pour from the pail,
to run one curious hand across
the surface of some stones, to observe
those stones in flight rather than
imagine what flight must be like?
Great thinker, father of science,
I do not claim your completeness,
only that one evening I looked up,
and everything I saw, wrote down.

 

This poem originally appeared in Edison literary review