Yesterday all the past. The language of effect size
Spreading to Psychology along the sub-fields; the diffusion
Of the counting-frame and the quincunx;
Yesterday the shadow-reckoning in the ivy climates.
Yesterday the assessment of hypotheses by tests,
The divination of water; yesterday the invention
Of cartwheels and clocks, the power-pose of
Horses. Yesterday the bustling world of the experimenters.
Yesterday the abolition of Bible codes and hot hands,
the journal like a motionless eagle eyeing the valley,
the chapel built in the psych lab;
Yesterday the carving of instruments and alarming findings;
The trial of heretics among the tenure reviews;
Yesterday the theoretical feuds in the conferences
And the miraculous confirmation of the counterintuitive;
Yesterday the Sabbath of analysts; but to-day the struggle.
Yesterday the installation of statistical packages,
The construction of findings in available data;
Yesterday the evo-psych lecture
On the origin of Mankind. But to-day the struggle.
Yesterday the belief in the absolute value of Bayes,
The fall of the curtain upon the death of a model;
Yesterday the prayer to the sunset
And the adoration of madmen. but to-day the struggle.
As the postdoc whispers, startled among the test tubes,
Or where the loose waterfall sings compact, or upright
On the crag by the leaning tower:
“O my vision. O send me the luck of the Wilcoxon.”
And the investigator peers through his instruments
At the inhuman provinces, the virile bacillus
Or enormous Jupiter finished:
“But the lives of my friends. I inquire. I inquire.”
And the students in their fireless lodgings, dropping the sheets
Of the evening preprint: “Our day is our loss. O show us
History the operator, the
Organiser. Time the refreshing river.”
And the nations combine each cry, invoking the life
That shapes the individual belly and orders
The private nocturnal terror:
“Did you not found the city state of the sponge,
“Raise the vast military empires of the shark
And the tiger, establish the robin’s plucky canton?
Intervene. O descend as a dove or
A furious papa or a mild engineer, but descend.”
And the life, if it answers at all, replied from the heart
And the eyes and the lungs, from the shops and squares of the laboratory
“O no, I am not the mover;
Not to-day; not to you. To you, I’m the
“Yes-man, the associate editor, the easily-duped;
I am whatever you do. I am your vow to be
Good, your humorous story.
I am your business voice. I am your career.
“What’s your proposal? To build the true theory? I will.
I agree. Or is it the suicide pact, the romantic
Death? Very well, I accept, for
I am your choice, your decision. Yes, I am Science.”
Many have heard it on remote peninsulas,
On sleepy plains, in the aberrant fishermen’s islands
Or the corrupt heart of the city.
Have heard and migrated like gulls or the seeds of a flower.
They clung like burrs to the long expresses that lurch
Through the unjust lands, through the night, through the alpine tunnel;
They floated over the oceans;
They walked the passes. All presented their lives.
On that arid square, that fragment nipped off from hot
Inquiry, soldered so crudely to inventive Emotion;
On that tableland scored by experiments,
Our thoughts have bodies; the menacing shapes of our fever
Are precise and alive. For the fears which made us respond
To the medicine ad, and the rumors of multiple comparisons
Have become invading battalions;
And our faces, the institute-face, the multisite trial, the ruin
Are projecting their greed as the methodological terrorists.
B-schools are the heart. Our moments of tenderness blossom
As the ambulance and the sandbag;
Our hours of blogging into a people’s army.
To-morrow, perhaps the future. The research on fatigue
And the movements of packers; the gradual exploring of all the
Octaves of embodied cognition;
To-morrow the enlarging of consciousness by diet and breathing.
To-morrow the rediscovery of romantic fame,
the photographing of brain scans; all the fun under
Publicity’s masterful shadow;
To-morrow the hour of the press release and the Ted talk,
The beautiful roar of the audiences of NPR;
To-morrow the exchanging of tips on the training of MTurkers,
The eager election of chairmen
By the sudden forest of hands. But to-day the struggle.
To-morrow for the young the p-values exploding like bombs,
The walks by the lake, the weeks of perfect communion;
To-morrow the revisions and resubmissions
Through the journals on summer evenings. But to-day the struggle.
To-day the deliberate increase in the chances of rejection,
The conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary criticism;
To-day the expending of powers
On the flat ephemeral blog post and the boring listserv.
To-day the makeshift consolations: the shared retraction,
The cards in the candlelit barn, and the scraping concert,
The tasteless jokes; to-day the
Fumbled and unsatisfactory link before hurting.
The stars are dead. The editors will not look.
We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and
History to the defeated
May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon.