Varied Surroundings

There is more to being human than travelling around the world sampling its many delights, and recent reading has taken me deeper into subjects like philosophy. Though I am a scientist by training, the humanities continue to appeal to me, and various life events have led me to explore them more than otherwise might have been the case. That is now the main thrust of what you find here, along with other things that have a use in navigating life’s journey.

Second Coming

Dating from my Irish secondary schooling, I still retain a certain appreciation for the poetry of William Butler Yeats to this day. In fact, it was to Yeats that I turned when I needed a quote for the front of my doctoral thesis and my action inspired a fellow compatriot when it was his turn to do the same.

Maybe there was a certain sense of tumult surrounding our endeavours that we had recourse to the poetry of Yeats. He was writing during a time of global war and rising nationalism that was accompanied by the struggle for Irish independence. In our own troubled times, the words of Second Coming have a certain timelessness about them and that is why I am including them here. As write these words in late 2019, the following lines strike a particular resonance that remind us that history needs constant re-reading if we are not to keep repeating ourselves.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?