the colour of our lives

poetry • celebration • faith • nature • humanity • imperfections • glory


part of any science
is to sell ideas, schedules;ideas
to obtain knowledge,
to plan assaults on frontiers.
For this, poetry must wait



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27 thoughts on “excuses

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  1. Or not in this case? What an interesting piece of writing, including the intriguing title. Of course that’s what poetry does too in a different way – selling ideas/obtaining knowledge/planning assualts on frontiers, etc. And each poem an experiment; an effort to discover something? Or maybe explain something more clearly? The more I write about your short poem, the more it makes me think!

  2. I understand. Especially now that I appear to be returning to academia in January – albeit as something of the peasantry and not of the nobility. I do not see how any writing can be accomplished then. Meanwhile, you and I may both have to freeze dry much of the poetic (or theological) impulse and hope to thaw it out for the harvest.
    There is a chance I will get to teach “Excursions in Mathematics”, a course of which no one seems to know the content. I make it into a history of mathematics course, which pleases some and displeases others and irritates the rest of the department which feels I should be teaching these math-phobes how to construct proofs. Then again, no one else wants to teach it, so I win.
    Meanwhile I do hope your sabbatical, if it happens, with your “real job” is not without its poetic moments and your soul is well filled.

  3. I forgot to say “Excellent poem”. It is.

  4. Very true. Especially when it comes to grading homework. I feel rather unhappy about giving grades at all. They never seem to be truly just, however much I may try.
    By the way, aren’t you entering summer break down there? The fierce snow storm that hit New England – if you pay attention to weather on the other side of the world – missed us; it seems ironic that we would be too far north for severe weather (though north to you means more tropical). Nonetheless it is turning cold, the leaves are falling, and most spectacularly the Canada geese are gathering to begin their mass exodus. They are, to me, the most awe inspiring sight up here, and there are many others competing with them.

    • I’ve become quite pragmatic about grading stuff, once I finally get around to it. The University pays me because I have an opinion on various things, one of these being students’ work, so I give it. This is the last week of our semester; a week of “study” break, three weeks of exams, the usual associated administrivia, and undergrad business is done for the year.
      I did hear about the snow storm; even Australian news reports this in between endless sport and local political gossip. Last summer we battened down for a wayward cyclone that looked like it was heading this far south, which turned out to be a bit of a fizzer. At least the yard got tidied.
      We recently watched a documentary series on animal migrations. Geese, of course, featured strongly – they’re amazing. Calling someone a ‘goose’ is not really as insulting as anyone might think.

  5. It will only be people like you that put poetry at the forefront – so never stop writing!

    It reminds me of a conversation I had once with a guy who was explaining to me his belief that everything can be explained by science. I remember saying, no, one must account for some poetry. He disagreed, and I always liked him less after that!

    Lovely piece of writing 🙂

    • thanks Louise. Yes, the world would be a sadder and smaller place if science could explain everything. But some science is, in itself, a kind of poetry, especially when we don’t dull the wonder of discovery with too much analysis or pragmatism.

  6. planaquarium on said:

    Love this! Valery once said “a poem is never finished, only abandoned.” I think we appreciate all things – simple and profound – so much more when we attempt to adequately describe them.

  7. Thanks planaquarium – we have here a great example of a post where the ensuing discussion is better than what started it! 😉

  8. Oh no! I have so many of those–excuses, to make poetry wait.

    Well crafted poem! (with a very apt title 🙂 )

  9. science should take a turn waiting for poetry…

    • Yes, science should take a turn waiting for poetry and we would be better off. But science is too successful and profitable and brash to be humble enough to take a turn, and poetry tends to be too insecure and tentative to be very insistent. Bertrand Russell said, “The whole problem with the world is that wise men are full of doubt and fools are full of self-confidence” or something like that (just putting on a pretense of being wise, here).

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