Typical. You think you’ve invented something brilliant and within a matter seconds find out it’s been around for years. I’m working on a timeline to celebrate 70 years of teaching humanities at Imperial College London (I know, who knew right?) and I’ve been speculating about things that might happen over the next 70 years. One entry was going to be ‘Sci-Po (science poetry or science fiction poetry) becomes a wildly popular course’. Been around for decades! There’s even a society dedicated to the genre that’s been going since 1978. Loads about science and technology poetry elsewhere online too,
On other matters, I’ve been thinking about how one can look at things from a very great distance in the sense of removing oneself from the deluge and detail of everyday drugery and see things from afar, especially big themes, patterns, shifts, trends and so on. I know from personal experience that one way to do this (on a country or regional level at least) is to live somewhere else for a significant time and then come back. I’m sure the use of psychedelics could work too (and who knew that Imperial had a department focussed on that!?!).
“The poor were fat and the rich were lean.
Nearly all could preach, very few could sing.”
By Les Murray.
Have you slept in a tent alone—a tent
Out under the desert sky—
Where a thousand thousand desert miles
All silent round you lie?—
The dust of the aeons of ages dead,
And the peoples that trampled by?
Have you looked in the desert’s painted cup,
Have you smelled at dawn the wild sage musk,
Have you seen the lightning flashing up
From the ground in the desert dusk?
Have you heard the song in the desert rain
(Like the undertone of a wordless rhyme?)
Have you watched the glory of colors flame
In its marvel of blossom time?
Have you lain with your face in your hands, afraid,
Face down—flat down on your face—and prayed,
While the terrible sand storm whirled and swirled
In its soundless fury, and hid the world
And quenched the sun in its yellow glare—
Just you, and your soul, and nothing, there?
If you have, then you know, for you’ve felt its spell,
The lure of the desert land,
And if you have not, then I could not tell—
For you could not understand.
The Lure of the Desert Land
by Madge Morris Wagner
My Son’s Stars
He had a handful of them
On his fingertips
and he gave them to me
to carry in my pocket
to take with me everywhere
and place in the sky
when I needed to find my way home
By Giles Ford.
The second in my Poem for a Sunday series.
“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”