Quanta

Everything exists, is there –
That polished table, this old chair –
Regardless of whether you’re looking or not,
Now is now, no matter what;
Yesterday won’t reappear
And tomorrow’s not yet here.
That’s the world, according to
The Local Realistic View.

When something moves from here to there
It surely must have gone somewhere?
Measuring electron spin
Will prove that common sense must win.
We can trust reality
If the answer’s Bell’s Inequality.
There has to be locality –
Otherwise, where would we be?

But the calculations show
This actually is not so;
When crucial measurements are taken
Common sense is sorely shaken.
Bellis Inequality is breached
By any photon out of reach.
It’s really neither here nor there, or maybe it is everywhere.

For electrons will behave
As particles and then as waves,
Wave-particle duality
Means here and now is all we see,
Waves of darkness crystallise
In the headlamp-light of eyes
And melt away. It isn’t true,
The Local Realistic view.

Nothing exists, there is nothing there
If no one is looking, no table, no chair.
For you can only say for sure
Where they were when you last saw –
In the past. And where is that?

Did anyone ever find Schrődinger’s Cat?
If yesterday’s somewhere in space,
Tomorrow is another place.

Our perceptions only show
What it is we need to know.
We’re equipped with what we need
In order to survive and breed.
What worlds may pass while we take snaps,
Freeze-framing waves as they collapse!
Could we but stop the clock and see
The ripples of Uncertainty!
Probability and chance
Interference patterns dance
Upon a screen; they come from where?
Can one little dot be everywhere?
Parallel worlds, the future, the past,
All here together, forever to last?
Or when you’re not looking it all goes away
And nothing is real, in any way?

Our ship cuts through an ocean sea of waves of probability.
One little dot of each we see
Of every possibility,
While rippling, spreading out of sight,
All that was, will be, or might
Have been, beyond our blinkered view
Where hopes and fears and dreams come true.

And if you think this can’t be true,
Think again, next time that you
Watch ‘Eastenders’ on TV
In colour, buy a pack of tea
Price checked by a laser-scanner
In usual supermarket manner,
for these things could never be
but for quantum theory.

It’s very likely that the chair
And the table will be there
When you turn to look again,
And they make pictures in your brain –
For their clarity selected
Interference waves rejected –
But this censored TV show
Is all that you can really know.

Some say one day it will all contract
To a singularity; re-enact
The Big Bang, but in time-reverse
Of this expanding universe,
(But if there is no absolute time
Is it all happening now? For time
Is never “wrong” and never “right”,
But relative to the speed of light.)

From the light of that first dawn
when the universe was born
radiation is still found
uniformly all around.
Cosmic background microwaves
Float through us, eternal rays,
Rippling through, sometime, somewhere,
And one little dot is everywhere.