Friday, September 18, 2009

815. Cosmic Gall - John Updike

'Every second, hundreds of billions of these neutrinos pass through each square inch of our bodies, coming from above during day and from below at night, when the sun is shining on the other side of the earth.' - (from 'An Explanatory Statement on Elementary Particle
Physics,' By M. A. Rudermand and A. H. Rosenfeld, in American Scientist)

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 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.