Guest poem submitted by E. Brooke :
(Poem #1528) Sonnet -- To Science
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art! Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart, Vulture, whose wings are dull realities? How should he love thee? or deem thee wise? Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering To seek for treasure in the jeweled skies, Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? And driven the Hamadryad from the wood To seek a shelter in some happier star? Has thou not torn the Naiad from her flood, The Elfin from the green grass, and from me The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
(1829, 1845) Under the traditional Shakespearean sonnet structure, Poe expresses nontraditional accusations for science. Like mostly all Poe's poems, it is a psychological study of a speaker suffering the most human of flaws. In this case, it is spoken through the tunnel vision of a passionate man mourning the slaughter of mythology, fantasy, art by its alleged archenemy, Science. He questions the desertion of the imagination by the objective force of science. He is inclined to avoid logic in his argument, although the classic sonnet structure implies his own attempt to rationalize his own thoughts. Perhaps the structure contrasted with such unreigned feelings further insinuates humanity's paradoxical need for organization in every field of thought, including the self-proclaimed resisters of logic. You cannot fully trust this speaker. He is borderline obsessive, which blinds him to truth through moderation. He constrains his thinking to one side of the spectrum where he is unable to see the interconnection between science and art. He prophesizes ultimate death approaching poetry through science's "peering eyes." He is scared -- if not for himself -- then for art in general, for the obliteration of his ability to dream. Herein lies the speaker's hypocrisy. Although he speaks wildly about his disrespect for science because it disallows for fantasy and dreaming, he adheres to the logic applied to poetry as demonstrated by the conventional sonnet structure. This is a beautiful poem, rich with layers to every aspect. The concept of remaining open-minded to every field of thought is one that is relevant to every human being since ignorance breeds ignorance. To modern readers, especially now during the age of skepticism, this poem rings true since the current emphasis and faith has been placed on science to supply truth. The speaker is microcosmic of most of humanity, for he believes there is a gap between science and art. Nothing could be further from Truth. Poetry and art are not in opposition to science in its perception of reality. Rather, poetry uncovers another level of reality that science cannot, and vice versa. While the path of scientific fact is one way to discover truth, so is the path of fantasy. They are as interconnected and interdependent as land and ocean. We should all consider our own biases.