Friday, February 25, 2011

It's a Small World After All

Many of you know that I'm a kindergarten teacher by day. Sometimes I sing that saccharine song that Walt Disney made famous: "It's a Small World, After All."

This is another way of understanding that idea:

 Small World, an Etheree

our universe holds a hundred billion
galaxies and each galaxy holds
a hundred billion stars most of
them many times larger than
our green earth—we cannot
quite understand just
how small our world
really is

Would you like me to read it to you?
Just press the orange play button:

  Small World, An Etheree by Dan Gurney

*Consisting of ten lines, the Etheree poem starts with a one syllable line, then adds one syllable per line, ending with a final line of ten syllables yielding an overall syllable count of 55. In other words the syllabic structure is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. It's also okay, and still and Etheree to reverse the sequence from 10 down to 1 and even to combine such progressions into compound forms of Etherees. It’s an uncomplicated, unpretentious form of poetry that has the quality of slowly opening, like a flower.  Try composing one; it won't take you too long. Who knows?  You may like it!


steven said...

hey dan! i think of our bodies as a miniature universe in the miniature universe of our experiencing in the miniature universe of this planet and so on. it's so overwhelming. my first born son's middle name is rigel. i've not seen it presented graphically before. a blue supergiant. hmmm. steven

Jo said...

I look at the world as being both, infinitely small, and infinitely large, never ending in either direction.

And can infinity be within us and without us humans and other beings, too? I think so.

This is a fascinating topic, and that video is amazing. Your etheree is brilliant.

Thanks for the trip around the infinite universe today, Dan!

Paul C said...

I saw some footage recently from one of the planetary probes of the earth appearing like a tiny distant planet. This post fits this image perfectly.

Margaret Pangert said...

Wow, it is a small world, after all! That was pretty amazing, Dan. It's hard to imagine that all this was just one, huge, infinite mass that separated after the big boom. I wish it were possible to get our minds around it all and see, per your etheree.
Thank you for this, Margaret

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, steven, there's another way to see the smallest things as entire universes, and I know you do that, too. Rigel, eh? Wow.

Dan Gurney said...

Jo, thank you for leaving a comment. Yes infinity actually goes in both directions, but it can be dizzying to go both ways.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Paul, yes, from a distance this place can look so small and fragile. And it is.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Margaret. As I understand it, before the Big Bang this whole universe was small, a singularity. I suppose there was nothing else to compare it to, but as I understand it, it was smaller than a golf ball, say. Maybe someone reading this comment can refine or correct my idea about the size of the universe before the big bang.