Ayn-Sof, the supposedly longest poem


The shapes which struggle from apparent chaos are strings
which lace the face of God: so count,
who may,
the multiple hairs in his huge beard
and shape at last his awful name.


When the universe exploded
from a single lightmad point of splendor,
possibly fifteen billion years ago,
subatomic shrapnel blasted into directions,
colliding, annihilating, bursting apart and
beginning time.

Cooling of the initial radiation allowed
the original quarks to group into larger,
more stable configurations,
becoming protons, neutrons, electrons
and their antibodies.

Einstein’s kaleidoscope’d begun.

If the energy of creation
is insufficient
to continue to propel the matter of the universe
apart forever,
the cosmos will eventually collapse,
the force of its own weight inhaling
all the scattered stars, dust, gas and light
to a single point,
perhaps a dozen couple billion years from now.

That instant of universal gravity
could conceivably
ignite again,
blowing up a new universe,
and some cosmologists speculate about
the persistence of any structure ― even the strangest
quark ― from our World into that imagined future

Contemporary measurements,
appear to indicate
the matter comprising the cosmos to be too small
at first ever to be gathered again.

Thus, each particle will continue its flight
from every other ― down to the upmost quark ― until
all energy is exhausted
and the universe is left
a lightless, flat and infinite waste
of inert and motionless unmatter.


“Nur der Satz hat Sinn: nur I’m Zusammenhage des Satzes hat ein Name Bedeutung.” (Wittgenstein, Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung, 3.3)

“The ‘experience’ which we need to understand logic is not that such and such is the case, but that something is; but that is no experience.

Logic precedes every experience ― that something is so.

It is before the How, not before the What.” (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5.552)

“Die Tatsachen im logischen Raum sind die Welt.” (1.13)

Ludwig Wittgenstein
effectively demonstrated
the bankruptcy of metaphysical propositions
in his first published book. His friend,
mentor and follower,
Bertrand Russell wrote
An Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy
while in a British prison during the First World War.

The Viennese bachelor preferred
watching American Westerns while munching
a pork pie
to enduring the intellectual vacuity of Mind.

Both are now dead.


The calcium in cowsmilk will be replaced invariably
through organic preference, depending upon its availability
in the biosphere, by strontium-90, the half-life of which is 28.8 years.

The bones
of such milkweaned calves
glow in the earth after death from cancer
and may be used for divination
in the month of August.

DI-VI-NA-TION: the ancient practice of puzzling

from random scatterings of sticks,
structures of internal organs from sacrificial beasts,
flights of birds,
haphazard selection of passages from sacred books,
flights of planets tracked among the stabled stars,


in whose webs the seers felt the Will of Fate,
reflections of an infinite four-dimensional plan.


The Australopithecine mandible
discovered at Laetoli,
Tanzania, in 1976,
briefly displayed among other original finds
in the “Ancestors” exhibit
at the American Museum of Natural History
from April 13 to September 9, 1984,
is that of an adolescent female,
who died of strangulation, although
the scientists could of course
not so determine
or even be aware.

Her death was caused by
an evolutionarily premature
descent of the pharynx,
resulting in an equiposition
of the tracheal and esophageal openings.

Her sex
and age were estimated
by examination of the extant dentition
(being nine teeth in situ)
matched to a statistical analysis of contemporary hominids.


Currently, physics perceives the cosmos
as a hierarchy of structures.

The universe at large is lumpy with galaxies

(and the cosmologists are pondering
why matter should clump this way,
contrary to theory),

the galaxies of star systems
(which may or may not hold condensed dust as planets),
the stars of hot gas,
the gas of molecules,
the molecules of atoms,
the atoms of protons and neutrons in a nucleus
orbited by electrons.

The light from the stars
is produced from nuclear fusion
and the resulting radiation
includes only a tiny portion of wavelengths
visible in the human eye;
light is composed of photons,
massless, chargeless particles
extant only in motion.

Twentieth-century highenergy
atomsmashing experiments
have produced a baffling plethora of
subatomic particles:

pions, mesons, neutrinos, kaons, baryons, nucleons,
hyperons, hadrons, bosons, leptons, fermions
(including some overlapping family names)

in matter and antimatter
(which may be simply matter retrograde in time).

All the assorted particles in the cosmos
are considered to be
composed from various configurations of quarks
(usually bagged in triplicate),
the presumably ultimate subatomic particle,
the smallest formal structure in the cosmos.

The name of this particle was coined by a facetious
(and well read) physicist, Murray Gell-Mann,
from the gullscry
in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake
(“Three quarks for Muster Mark”).

The word in German means cream cheese,
and quarks are flavored up/down/strange/charmed.

Simply beautiful, we know and knew

Is there no Bottom to this dream?

“Quark” is among the oldest traditional family names on the Isle of Man.


Nine very ancient sites show evidence,
certain or possible, of fire use,
reaching back as far as one-point-five million years ago.
Four are African, two Chinese and three European:

Chesowanja, Karari, Yuanmou, Gadeb,
L’Escale, Olorgesailie, Terra Amata, Vertezollos.

More recently, use of fire is obvious everywhere
from the more modern Paleolithic to the present.

Paleochronologists can date organic material by measuring
relative amounts of radioactive carbon-14,
knowing the natural half-life of such material ―
occurring as only a single atom among
million million naturally here on earth ― is
5730 years:

and carbon is necessary in the twentysome amino acids
comprising all the varied proteins which make life work,
including wood to burn and meat with vegetables to roast.

A thousandtimes less complex than a protein or an enzyme
is the spiral molecule of deoxyribonucleic acid,
winding and unwinding an acidshaping dance
every time a living cell divides,
bearing in its assortments of polypeptide bases
(adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine)


which with incandescent chemistry encodes
the primal names of life.


After first in June of 1983
voting to install high-pressure sodium
the San Diego city council reversed itself
six to three
in February of the next year and
redecided in favor of twofrequency
low sodium lamps.
The choice prevented further
light pollution
of the night skies
for astronomers using
the nearby 200-inch reflecting telescope
at the Mount Palomar Observatory.
Acrimonious dissent
was voiced by one councilman
who felt the yellowish illumination
made pedestrians look like corpses.




The initial letter of the alphabet
began its history as a consonant,
a pictographic representation
in the written traditions of
Ugaritic, Aramaic
and other North and West Semitic languages
about four thousand years ago.

The original symbol signified an ox.

The English vowel is pronounced
with some seven different sounds.


The effect which causes
the gathering of stellar material into galaxies
could be superstrong
gravitational singularities

(the probable existence of which was first calculated by
wheelchair-bound Cambridge mathematician Stephen Hawking).

A so-called black hole
derives its name
from the dark fact that the intense gravity
resulting from star’s utter implosion
absorbs not only all matter
to the most charming quark
but also
curves back all energy, all light.

A particle at the inner edge
of the funneling accretion disk
around the singularity
a relativistic paradox of nearluminal acceleration:

in the instant of annihilation,
time stops.


In 1965,
while trying to locate
the source
of low-level static occurring
in Telstar communication satellite transmissions,
two Bell Telephone Laboratories
research scientists, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson,
discovered a 3-degree Kelvin black-body radiation.

Further investigation revealed
that the faint microwave background
emanated almost equally from every direction in the universe.

This subtle hiss
is all that remains
from the energies released
at the instant of creation.

י א

ten elements they list by name in the language Aquinas could
not read, like Greek, which reach enchained from nothing
through angelsong to the mighty wrack where mortals scream.

ten figures in lightwheels breathe the matter we believe,
and someone counted four eights doors that made the faceless
void conceive: the silversilent sword of Words.

ten facets among themselves commune in complex webs of will,
and he who speaks their compound lights redeems the thickly
murky world and rides alone upon the photons’ chariot.

keter chokmah binah chesed geburah netzach yesod hod malkut

where’s beauty now, you ravenlunged and milkdrunk seers?
we’ve consumed the combination to your ancient, dreamy fears

July 1984
©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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