by, Dec-18-2011 at 01:22 (689 Views)
I always forget about the blogging area, but, it having popped into my mind, I thought I'd share with a little thing I wrote.
The approach of a new year is always a good time to reflect on where we are as individuals, as communities, as societies, as nations, and as a species. Often though, this leaves me thinking something to the effect: "How on earth in 2011 do people still think things like [i]that[/i]?!" One sad thing I have come across repeatedly this year is the thought that there is no beauty or poetry in science.
Really? Is this 1819? Because I smell the staleness of a few famous lines from John Keats's [i]Lamia[/i]:
"Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person'd Lamia melt into a shade."
Anybody in the 21st century who regurgitates a modern form of this misguided opinion ought to be directed to Richard Dawkins's 1998 book [i]Unweaving the Rainbow[/i], which directly references Keats and sets out to demonstrate the poetry of science while also alerting us to some flaws of human intuition.
I haven't written much poetry for a while, but the constant thought of this sad fact led me to want to write a response. The above quotation is only a section of [i]Lamia[/i], so instead I've written a 'rebuttal' poem to Edgar Allan Poe's sonnet [i]To Science[/i] (reproduced after mine). I ordinarily adore Poe's writing, but at least he can perhaps be forgiven for his sonnet by virtue of living 200 years ago. Not so for our contemporaries.
[b]To Science, and to Edgar Allan Poe[/b] by Callum James Hackett
Science! True daughter of Old Time you are!
Altering all things with your curious eyes.
And thus you enrich the poet's heart
with images of crisp realities.
How we do love you, how you make us wise,
not leaving us wandering in darkness,
grasping false treasures from the specious skies,
instead steeling us to soar dauntless.
You drag Diana, drive the Hamadryad,
force the Naiad and the Elfin to run
to shelters in our imaginings, and have
in their place the blaze of a billion suns.
And now we have summer dreams of other worlds
and our parochial fantasies unfurl.
[b]To Science[/b] by Edgar Allan Poe
Science! True daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?