Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sonnet: To the Dark Matter

Author's note: I wrote this poem back in 1999. I am still fascinated by dark matter, and a recent story on a new theory of dark matter sparked my memory of this old sonnet (I was fascinated by the sonnet form for a while, too...).
Sonnet: To the Dark Matter

Something there is that yet still may not be:
Theories, conjectures, like folktales, abound;
Black mortar holding the bright tiles, for me:
Though ’tis concealed, amongst darkness be found.
In that abyss of the void in-between
Glistening gods man has too long revered
Lieth that crutch on which stars and spheres lean
(Key to a Nothing from which life appeared).
Look then, ye stargazers, upon that light
Wearied by lovers (like roses and dew!),
Thinking the luminous is the aright,
Certain that “Nothing there is!” is not true.
     Nothing: it is that which I gaze upon,
     Hiding itself ’neath the breaking of dawn.

Image credit: CosmoO, public domain image, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review of On Their Own Terms by Lee Hall

It has been nearly 70 years since Donald Watson and others launched the Vegan Society, proclaiming to the world a radical idea: that humans had no right to use animals in any way, for any reason. Since then, many seminal thinkers and works have argued the case for animal rights. Peter Singer published Animal Liberation nearly 40 years ago, and we have for decades had available the works of theorists such as Tom Regan and Gary Francione. Through their work, and the work of countless “grassroots” activists of many forms, “animal rights” has become a term of general knowledge—though its connotations can vary drastically depending on the speaker and audience!

In recent years, and especially within recent months, people in the animal rights movement have begun to reflect publicly on the movement itself, assessing principles, practices, and future efforts. Of particular import in this reflection is the question of what kind of use of animals is acceptable…or is any use not acceptable at all?

This question has rippled through animal advocacy in all its forms, leading many to wonder if there are not two animal-focused movements (often being referred to as “abolitionist” and “welfarist,” depending on how the question is answered).