Infinity in both (or all?) directions
Posted by Hil on November 09, 1997 at 20:35:57:
This is from 'Swammerdam':
'It seemed to me that true anatomy
Began not in the human heart and hands
But in the simpler tissues, primal forms,
Of tiny things that crept or coiled or flew.
The clue to life lay in the blind white worm
That eats away the complex flesh of men,
Is eaten by the farmyard bird who makes
A succulent dinner for another man
And so completes the circle. Life is One
I thought, and rational anatomy
Begins at the foot o' the ladder, on the rung
Nearest the fertile heat of Mother Earth.'
Does this - 'tiny things that crept or coiled or flew' - take us back to Cropper the worm, Blackadder the snake, and Nest, the bird?
I like all the references to Darwinism. In Swammerdam, I like the sense of his terrible knowledge that unfolding microcisms will be just as threatening to people's concept of themselves as Galileo's discovery that the Earth was not the centre of the universe. We get this sense of worlds spinning away into the infinite in both directions...into the infinitely small, and into the infinitely big.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.