Treasure Island

Gary Witt

Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions

One stanza in the poetry of mathematics
Speaks of butterflies and building clouds,
Of reasoning toward a chasm, of quantifying chaos:

For, as a system becomes increasingly complex,
Small variations in data inputs over time will yield
Huge fluctuations in results, so that ultimately

A butterfly beats its wings in China and
Causes a storm to arise in the Atlantic
(Of which the butterfly is blissfully unaware) .

The poetry of mathematics does not speak
Of butterfly conscience, sympathy, or dread;
It does not deal with the romance of clouds.

But if our thoughts have wings what winds have they stirred?
What storms have our uttered words precipitated?

Submitted: Sunday, August 24, 2008
Edited: Friday, May 06, 2011

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions by Gary Witt )

Enter the verification code :

  • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) (6/20/2009 5:40:00 PM)

    Well done, Gary. Causality is an interesting thing, isn't it, though a bit deceptive on second glance. Existence rolling forward like a wave, transitional states flowing outward from 'initial conditions', each moment a whole new universe of relational geography. Enjoyed this one a lot. (Report) Reply

  • Danny Reynolds (8/24/2008 1:30:00 AM)

    Love it Gary. I was thinking about phantom traffic jams, caused by one person hitting the brakes too hard, and they all come to a standstill 50 miles back, so I won't think about it for too long.
    Danny ; ¬) (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley Updates

New Poems

  2. আশীর্বাদ, Dr. Prabir Acharjee Nayan
  3. The Question of the Metaphysical Squirrel, Eugene Levich
  4. She Met Three Interesting People In The .., Toshie Nohara
  5. Aketay Imetay, D.L. Aceves
  6. Celestial Musings, Chris Running Bear
  7. Fairy Tale Of Magical Worlds, Chris Running Bear
  8. At my door, hasmukh amathalal
  9. Imagination but real, Mashiur Rahman
  10. I cant see you but I know you there, yolandey breedt

Poem of the Day

poet Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
...... Read complete »


Modern Poem

poet Ernest G Moll


Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]