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It’s all there is until it’s all there was

A poem in honour of the Universe and all its complexities


Source: Wix Images


I

It can’t be described, it’s such a mind-bend

To ask “what’s before”? A frustrating dead end

No matter at all, and no time to tell

Then it broke from its state, out from its shell


A sudden explosion. Once and for all?

Whatever that means; it started to sprawl

Enlarging at pace, a growing miasma

And no way to see through this murkiest of plasma


More rapid expansion a millisecond later

In the blink of an eye, the swiftest accelerator

“It’s called inflation”, later cosmologists claimed

(As if by naming it, they’d not be shamed)


“The Universe”, we note, “continues expanding”

(It’s relative you know, me notwithstanding)

Compressed material, at the edge of its bounds

A hot, thick-baked blend of primal compounds

Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22429991-000-how-to-think-about-the-big-bang/


II

With the passing of time, a 380,000 year-surge

Particles previously unknown, begin to emerge

Then four forces of nature, with pervasive extents

Still no-one to witness these strange events


If the Big Bang is weird, here’s a surprise

Space time is curved—with all that implies

And gluons glue quarks inside protons and neutrons

To say nothing of neutrinos and electrons and bosons


A question I’d raise: how do we know this?

Who’s best at describing this cosmic abyss?

High Priests of God, or of Cosmology?

Different world views—and vocabulary


Well maybe that’s true, but here is the crux

Everything’s sludge, yet it’s changing, in flux

A photon-baryon mix, an entangled infusion

Travelling through time, this scorching extrusion

Source: Wix Images


III

There’s still no free photons, nothing to see

Telescopes can’t probe the great mystery

Yet over the eons it slowly comes clear

As the forms we see now begin to appear


Early galaxies comprise stars, gas and dust

Dark Matter too—to find it we must

Matter creates galaxies, then and right now

Can we really unravel this—I’m wondering, how?


The stars start to glitter, at just the right time

Bourgeoning by the billions, it’s surely sublime

Each galaxy’s unique; there’s never a twin

Mostly spiral like ours, in a slow spin


Apply the tough thinking, yet it’s still hard to know

How the Universe grows—so go with the flow

Cast aside doubts; it’s empirically-based belief

Yes, more than mere theory—that’s a relief

Source: Wix Images


IV

Galaxies glisten, expand and mature

At nine billion years they are full of allure

In a remote place in space, a planet, emergent

Orbits its Sun with a Moon, all convergent


Planets line up, and then stabilize

The Sun at the Centre—not Earth, that’s not wise

The biochemical potential, that’s the big deal

On a planet that’s clearly, nearly ideal


Not too hot, nor too cold—the Goldilocks effect

It’s full of delights, and almost perfect

By now it’s a mere 600 million years ago

And the Archean era, a great dynamo


The conditions for life arise and get going

Everything’s evolving—species’ to-ing and fro-ing

Gould says “I name it punctuated equilibrium”

In stops and starts, to the deniers’ opprobrium

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_evolutionary_history_of_life#/media/File:Mikrofoto.de-Blepharisma_japonicum_15.jpg


V

Under natural selection, many ways to propagate

Creatures lust and breathe, or merely, replicate

Thank you biology, for being so forceful

And to Darwin who chose not to be remorseful


Arrays of species, all fully adaptive

Making a living; with some, hyperactive

Life goes through many phase transitions

Later we glimpse them, ghostly fossil apparitions


And here is a puzzle we’re unable to crack

Throughout my life, we have jumped forward and back

How can all there is—the whole of space

Be squished in a point, without hints or a trace?


And there is a second, even more to enthral

What was the trigger that started it all?

Some say “my God”, others say “it’s science”

It’s clearly the latter, I say with defiance

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/nasa-photo-of-a-dying-star-2012-10?r=US&IR=T


VI

In truth there’s a third, I’ve kept it till last

What happens from here? Let’s move from the past

In a few billion years, the stars will burn out

The very last glimmer, of that have no doubt


The stars as they die, exhausting their fusion

Will deliver the ultimate scary conclusion

Extinguished and lifeless, all energy secreted

The whole of the Universe, completely depleted


Before that occurs, there’s another tale of woe

Galaxies redshifting at pace, all go-go

Moving apart, speeding away

Each galaxy an isolate, on a different pathway


We’ll be gone too, but if by luck

An entity survives—I’d be awestruck

They’d not know a thing, as conceptually

Every galaxy will have moved out of range, perceptually

Source: https://sites.google.com/site/universeformationtheories/home/big-chill


VII

Remote, lifeless galaxies, nothing is thriving

A universe-wide heat death—no life surviving

Lifeless and cold, it’s all gone downhill

They’ve given it a name—it’s called the “Big Chill”


As bad as it sounds, there’s a fate worse than this

Perish the thought, but you cannot dismiss

It continues its momentum, and accelerates

Faster and faster with no apparent brakes


The acceleration quickens, as fast as light

Dark Energy’s power, everything gone out of sight

Now it all pulls apart, the very fabric of matter

All of the Universe, a complete and utter shatter


This has a name too—they call it “Big Rip”

The end of existence: not just a blip

The quintessence of everything, completely shredded

It’s the moment the Universe has finally dreaded

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash


Fear not, dear reader, you won’t be there

To witness the carnage—there’ll be nothing to share

We’ll have died as a species, like all the rest

For science’s understanding, it’s one final test


Hold on you may say—that needs corrected

Artificial life will have evolved intelligent beings, perfected

They wouldn’t be us but they would be existing

Against powerful forces; resisting, persisting


Artificial intelligence or not, whatever we invent

Won’t be enough to stop the big rent

Once matter is utterly ripped asunder

There’s no coming back, no more to wonder


So under this option, things can’t be made right

It’s all an enigma, esoteric, recondite

There will literally be nothing left at all

And nothing we can do to ameliorate or forestall

Source: https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/universe/was-there-gravity-before-and-during-the-big-bang.html


IX

Yet there’s another alternative, an amazing event

Where the Universe reaches its maximum ascent

A pivotal point, it reaches gravitational interaction

Gathering pace, it rapidly enters contraction


Over the eons, it’ll return to a speck

This is more than a simple reality check

The Universe, proving there’s no free lunch

They’ve managed to label it the “Big Crunch”


To end up as a singularity again?

What’s next? We have no way to ascertain

We have no experiment on which to reflect

What happens when you have such an after-effect


Can the new singularity generate another existence?

Or stay as it is, on the path of least resistance?

Theorists say a re-bang can be called the “Big Bounce”

And all of past physics we’d have to denounce

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash


X

So, another Big Bang like the one we once had

Which gets me to thinking—is that option bad?

Maybe that bang in our Universe’s deep past

Was a Big Bounce, arising from a previous blast?


Big Chill, Rip or Crunch, or serial Bouncer?

Your guess is as good as any cosmic announcer

But despite all the options, there will be an end

And nothing to do but to try to comprehend


Some folks get worried about all this speculation

Made up ‘just so’ stories—out of sheer frustration?

These showcase the poignant thoughts that we’ve had

But now I’m out of new ideas—for good or for bad


So this is the story I’ve tried to narrate

Only some of us like this—for some, they will hate

Having thought of the Universe, and these extraordinary accounts

I can’t decide which to keep, and which to renounce


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