Monday 22 November 2010

Perpetual motion

So, here is this month's poem, as promised. Things that we think move are still, if we can catch the stillness. Things that we think are still, move.
... a ballet girl frou-frou'd remain[s] in a brush stroke
Perpetually mobile

Bowl of white hyacinths

I swear that hyacinth dances, and I’m not alas drunk.

I’ve been sitting and watching that bowl’s green lances
Curving and swaying, the curled white heads prancing
Like foam in the breeze from the top of a wave.

You will say – they are still.
Does that stop them from moving?
Don’t you know how

The wind in the corn in a painting can ripple
And shadow with sunlight swing under the trees
Or a ballet girl frou-frou’d remain in a brush stroke
Perpetually mobile?
I say they are dancing, their stillness illusion

– That, drunken or sober, remains my conclusion.

Monday 15 November 2010

Seeing flowers move - 2

Gallileo said, 'It still moves.'


Bowl of white hyacinths

I swear that hyacinth dances, and I'm not alas drunk.

More later.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Seeing flowers move

In Ancient Greece just before the time of Socrates lived philosophers who were seers, not just intellectuals.

Heraclitus said that everything moves. Parmenides said that nothing moves. My guess is that they would have agreed with each other.

Heraclitus, fragment 41 (from Heraclitus, Fragments (Penguin Classics)): The river where you set your foot just now is gone – those waters giving way to this, now this.

Parmenides: One path only is left for us to speak of, namely, that It is. In it are very many tokens that what is, is uncreated and indestructible, alone, complete, immovable and without end.

So, for ordinary mind things move perpetually. Change is the only thing that is reliably the same. Yet seen from another viewpoint the choreography of all this ballet is written and immovable.

The next poem of David's that I shall publish here later this month will be Bowl of white hyacinths.

It's a fun poem, about how things that seem still to ordinary mind, nevertheless dance.

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David Henschel's 'Heres and Nows'

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