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The Aether

by Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

All Rights Reserved 1998

The aether's there;

I'm not sure where--

Perhaps, it's in the stratosphere.

Aristotle philosophized:

It must be higher than the skies!

Else, what's up there between the stars?

Though Earth and Water, Air and Fire

Are layered as they most desire,

There must be something higher still

Because there really is no nil.

So through the cent'ries since he spoke

All types of men did go for broke

Trying to find that misty stuff.

The Christians speculated high

That God released it in His sigh;

It's what the angel's wings are made,

Or was it breathed in when we prayed?

The Alchemist searched here and there

And looked for it most everywhere;

Since so elusive was its place,

It must have quite a healing grace.

But no one found it in a vat,

(Not even from the wing of gnat);

The search continued, all in vain.

Then real science hit the scene

With a method and a scheme:

Distilling ether in a flask!

It had a pleasant smell and more:

Less dense was it than breathing Air,

Far finer spun than Angel Hair,

Anesthetized the surgeon's care...

This must be it! Or so they swore.

Alas, eureka's triumph call

Was not The Substance after all:

It lingered still, far out of reach.

When magnetism soon was found

By changed electric fluid's bound,

Speculation began anew

Still using reason, tried and true.

Since water waves are known quite well,

'Tis just the thing to break its spell;

A sinusoidal matter guess,

With eddies, currents, flow--no less!

There once was a man with a light

To measure Aethereal Right,

But to his dismay

It just wouldn't play--

More questions arose like a blight.

The yardstick, it shrunk with The Wind,

While Time took a Relative bend;

It didn't stop there

But really got weird:

The wave was a particle's friend!

Oh, please, you're confusing me muse,

Now Probables count as the Truths;

The particle track

Has just the right knack

To leave only wavicle clues.

So, now we no longer engage

In search for the talk of The Sage.

What quested once by all great men,

Is but a memory left to blend

Into a dark and mystic realm

Of foolish dreams at stupid helm.

I ask you this without a jest:

Should we abandon noble quest

For aether stuff to fill the gaps?

For Nothing circumambient

Means void is omnigatherent;

Does Naught, a causeless act right there,

Imply the aether's everywhere?

Einstein on The Aether:

"Recapitulating, we may say that according to the General Theory of Relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an Aether. According to the General Theory of Relativity space without Aether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this Aether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it."