In his only surviving work De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), the philosopher and poet Lucretius expounds on his theory that all matter is composed of tiny particles, making him the world’s second atomic physicist (Democritus, in fact, was the first.) My piece is on display as part of Kalligraphia XV at the San Francisco Public Library through 27 August 2018.
Translation by Dean Robino:
Thus the first things – atoms – are solid in simple singleness,
cohered from very small parts that were skillfully crowded together.
Not out of the union of their coming together
but their greater power in eternal singleness,
with things finally neither being torn away or made smaller
nature now gives way, reserving the seeds of matter.