Moonfall


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In the years of the London plague an apple fell from a tree

and led Isaac Newton to see the way to figure out gravity.

In part the apple inspired him a major decision to make;

but before he could apply his figures, he had to correct a mistake.

Aristotle had claimed that Nature's book is an easy one to read.

From simple observations the mind can, through simple logic, proceed.

"Look at the sky," the teacher said. "Look at the natural flow.

The stars sit on wheels that, turning, across the sky make them go."

Natural, then, is the circular motion, as perfect as the heavens above,

the stars cycling eternally, symbols of the Creator's endless love.

But there were flaws in that picture and Newton disagreed.

The straight line is the natural figure in the Newtonian creed.

In a straight line a body tends to move, preserving its original motion,

unless forced to do otherwise by another body. That's Newton's new notion.

From original motion a body is distracted

according to how gravity's law is enacted.

So the moon falls across the sky,

though away from Earth it tries to fly.

Restrained by gravity forever to fall in its grand ellipse around Earth,

the moon swings through its cycle, monthly confirming Newtonian theory's worth.

Thus the force that pulls the apple down and draws it to the ground

deflects the moon from its wonted path and swings it completely around.

Action at a distance? Newton shrugged. "No hypotheses will I frame."

It's enough to describe, as long as the model and Reality both behave the same.

Now the Greeks had sought to reason out the plan of Nature's rules,

but centuries of nought but failure had made them seem like fools.

Ironically, faced with Newton's reason, the Rationalists retreated.

The notion that essence precedes existence seems to be defeated.

Existence precedes essence is what Existentialists believe,

that we must thus observe phenomena before their pattern we try to weave.

But the orbiting apple and the falling moon do a thought entail,

that in discerning the patterns of Nature pure Reason will eventually prevail.

hhhggg

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