November 5, 2015

Arthur J. Stewart

FIVE TYPES OF CONFIDENCE

1.

Accidentally I attended an off-
the-wall flash mob event in the
lobby of the mall last week and at pre-
cisely the appointed time a loud bang

happened and

everyone in on it turned and froze

in place staring east, com-
pletely cap-
tivating the persons attending and I

took a quick glance west.

 

2.

I turn and re-
turn to the slip of water
along the submersed hull, the soft
near-silent thud of the great

engine reverberating, almost
feeling it. With the command up periscope, it
slides up. In the con-
trol room, eyes scan

green numbers and orange bars on electronic charts.
A muted discussion and from that
a decision is made: turn starboard,
twenty degrees.

 

3.

We think
we know, we take a
good hard guess—such is
the power of logic.

In some other dimension the wise
Greek philosopher frowns and
shakes his shaggy head.

 

4.

Our confidence
is a function of spatial scale. A massive
thing, when on the move,
will move

according to a pre-
cisely calculated plan; a sub-
atomic particle

won’t.

 

5.

I am confident
in love and I so love
her and her curves and
the delicate ways she thinks.

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015
Tribute to Scientists

[download audio]

__________

Arthur J. Stewart: “I am an aquatic ecologist: It’s what I was trained to do, at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station, and it’s what I love. From my science perch first at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and more recently at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, I’ve been able to write poetry, in addition to writing technical papers. I devise poems to convey the beauty of science to the public, and to remind scientists, again and again, that there is more than science as a valid way to think.” (website)