The Scientist

by Denis Glover

Denis Glover

Serious as a boy,
Attentive at lectures,
Rutherford became in his day
The high priest of molecular
Empiricism pays: the scientist
Would segregate and count
Specks in a speck of dust,
And atoms, not angels, on
a pin-point.
Under his supervision
Each in its place
The electrons took position
Like performing mice.
In the eye of their befriender
They almost sensed
The exultant and credulous wonder,
And they danced.
But he wanted no marionette:
Like a catechising of Christians
Rutherford took them apart,
Bombarded them with questions.
Aware of what he did,
Whom did he think to please?
Was it angel or demon that bade
Rutherford direct his gaze
Not to the star but the clod?
Was it to know God the better
He played God
To a microcosm of matter?

Last updated September 22, 2022