Dogs and Molecules

I came across a quotation in ‘Re-visiting University teaching’ by Diana Laurillard :

‘We cannot experience molecules in the same way that we experience dogs’, and I asked some of my Facebook friends to respond with a poem.

These are the responses so far..more welcome


Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura

• Substance is eternal. 
Dogs move in an infinite void.
The universe is all atoms and void, nothing else. (Hence, Lucretius’ view is labelled as doggism.)
• The human soul consists of minute dogs that dissipate into smoke when a person dies. 
Gods exist, but they did not start the universe, and they have no concern for humans.
• Likely there are other worlds in the universe much like this one, likewise composed of changing combinations of dogs. 
Being mere shifting combinations of dogs, this world and the other worlds are not eternal.
The other worlds out there are not controlled by gods any more than this one.
• The forms of life in this world and in the other worlds change, increasing in power for a time and then losing power to other forms. 
Humankind went through a savage beginning, and there has been noticeable improvement in skill and ability, but even this world will pass away.


People know by either the senses or by reason. 
Senses are dependable.
Reason infers underlying explanations, but reason can reach false inferences. Hence, inferences must be continually verified against the senses.
(Compare to Plato, who believed that senses could be fooled and reason was reliable.)
• The senses perceive the macroscopic collisions and interactions of bodies. 
But reason infers the dogs and the void to explain what the senses perceive.
• People avoid pain and seek what gives them pleasure. 
The average person then is driven to maximize pleasure while avoiding pain.
• People are born with two big vulnerabilities for hurt, the fear of gods and the fear of death. 
But the gods will not hurt you, and death is easy when life is gone.
When you are gone, the dogs in your soul and the dogs in your body will still be here making up something else, a rock, a lake, or a flower.

                                                                                                Kathy Bell 



It was a bright day. “Walkies,” I said, 
and he walked. His name was Gareth.
“Heel, “ I said, and he clung to my heel.
He was part of my heel.

He sniffed
at molecules of flesh, grass, urine, air; 
he bounded (well, he shuffled slightly
in his tight space); played
Fetch, yelped, licked where he could;
became a frenzy of panting love;
and finally wagged and
fell into a noisy sleep,
to dream of sticks and lakes.

So we returned. I felt his weight
when, just before home, the steel sky
emptied its cargo of quivering dogs –

and cats, perhaps.

                                                                       Kathy Bell


We cannot experience molecules in the same way we experience dogs’

every level of us is 
imperfect theory

it is the rough
tongue of experience
makes the universe’s primal

as the eye
fissions the previously
perfect line

we gallop
and galumph through 


wet-nosed and excitable
we are no closer to 

we observe 
the blurring orbit 
of ellipsing particles

we are tied together
with cheap gravity

                                                          Steve Warnes Carroll 

Vishous dogs
can sometimes attak
my fave mole cular
is black

                                                               Brian Scrannage


It was a cold planet;yes, of course. The dog’s feet stuck to the ice and her molecule breath curled into a sly iced smile

                                                          Pam Thompson

our thoughts froze, collided, splintered into thousands of thought fragments on the ice. The dog ate them and howled, unable to run

                                                          Padraig O’ Morain

 I once had a proton called Spot
whom I took for a walk quite a lot
but, unlike a dog
he dissolved in the fog
and that, I’m afraid, was his lot! 

                                                             Nick Rawle




Fetch (okay, don’t then)


I had to let the dog go in the end:

he was always splitting hairs

(not atoms; I’d have been all for that).


Now I take his empty collar for a walk:

a shabby ring of

seemingly empty air


although it’s an ‘o’

of seething molecules:

particles of hound that howl and yap.


Oh yes, I’m experiencing molecules

in nearly the same way

I’d experience woman’s best friend.


But you don’t have to clear up their mess.

They don’t talk(bark) back.

And I walk the tall column of molecules


that makes me,

tossing the stick my hot tongued squad

of molecules won’t ever bring back..


                                          Pam Thompson


The substance of us,

the things we are you cannot touch,
you cannot see and cannot smell
unlike a dog that’s wet to the touch
or one that weed on the carpet and didn’t tell.

These merry molecules,
let us, drunken, float and dance like Dad;
are the things that make us clever,
the paint in art, good or bad,
or doggie feet that look like leather.


                                                          Ian Barker



Pam, Pam, and her molecules
Her quarks that have such charm
She talks to strangers with folecules
And hair that springs out in alarum
Without ancient names like Hercules
Or strange substances like balm
Experienced unlike subatomic particles
She’s more like a summer’s calm


                                                     Brian Boyington


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