01 August 2008

"Alhazen of Basra"

No big issues here, just one of my favorite poems from Brian Turner's book, Here, Bullet. He served seven years in the US Army. He had tours in Bosnia with the 10th Mountain Division and in Iraq as an infantry team leader with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

This poem is titled, "Alhazen of Basra." He says this about him in his notes: "Abu Ali Hasan Ibn al-Haitham (965-1040 AD), known as Alhazen to the West, was an eminent physicist whose contributions to science remain vital and relevant to the present day."

If I could travel a thousand years back
to August 1004, to a small tent
where Alhazen has fallen asleep among books
about sunsets, shadows, and light itself,
I wouldn't ask whether light travels in a straight line,
or what governs the laws of refraction, or how
he discovered the bridgework of analytical geometry;
I would ask about the light within us,
what shines in the mind's great repository
of dream, and whether he's studied the deep shadows
daylight brings, how light defines us.

1 comment:

Bradley said...

I enjoyed this poem very much. If your readers would like to know more about Ibn al-Haytham, I recommend my new book, Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist. Written for young adults, it is the world's first full biography of the eleventh-century Muslim scholar known in the West as Alhazen or Alhacen.