Paul Sand - The Whole Shebang

The Whole Shebang

One day I awoke needing to know
why people exist, why hurricanes blow
why things emerge and then they are gone
why planets, why stars, what the fuck’s going on

so for years I studied biology
chemistry, physics, philosophy
law, economics, genetics, geology
history, quantum mechanics, ecology
myth, faith, religion, ethics and psychology
until lightbulbs went on in my head and bells rang
and my hand scrawled a nonfiction book in verse
The Whole Shebang

Part One explores how electromagnetism
weaves a universe, and in the world it shapes
how its chemistry, as we see in Part Two
spawns biological life, from microbes to apes

Part Three tracks human history
from howling through trees to messaging by text
Part Four presents a panorama of ‘now’
given what we know, what next

It’s a personal enquiry. If I put all this information together, what will I see?
It is in verse because that’s how my mind clarifies ideas. Simple colloquial verse is my editing software (keep it short and to the point). Anyway, it seemed natural, the universe in verse.

It is also, accidentally, a journal of one traumatic year, the last of four I spent, studying all this. I am eternally grateful to physics, faith, genetics and all the other perspectives, for providing me with a diversion, an absolute imperative, during a difficult time.

The journey, both the learning and the living, is emotional and often, to keep myself sane, funny. There is another way of looking at The Whole Shebang, as a collection of hundreds of stories about the world.


Intro | Cosmos | Life | Humans | Now | Diary | Quotes | Bibliography