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 :

  • Rookie - 186 Points 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

  • Rookie 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 »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. A Homage To The Freedom Fighters Of India, Raja Basu
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  5. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  6. If, Rudyard Kipling
  7. A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns
  8. A Poison Tree, William Blake
  9. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  10. Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Pablo Neruda

Poem of the Day

poet Oscar Wilde

(In memoriam
C. T. W.
Sometime trooper of the Royal Horse Guards
obiit H.M. prison, Reading, Berkshire
July 7, 1896)


He did not wear his scarlet coat,
...... Read complete »


Modern Poem

poet Ruth Stone


Member Poem

New Poems

  1. Travels On An Ox-Chart, Margaret Alice Second
  2. Mercy, save me., Darian Kalamerd
  3. ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ, Deepak Malapur
  4. A Cruel Hope, Praveen Nautiyal
  5. Our Vista, Hazel Durham
  6. UNWANTED, Pranab K. Chakraborty
  7. In my poems each word, gajanan mishra
  8. The silent Witness, Angell Afinowi
  9. Peaceful Faculty-5, Pranab K. Chakraborty
  10. Peaceful Faculty-4, Pranab K. Chakraborty
[Hata Bildir]