Tuesday 28 May 2013

A Knitted Landscape

A knitted landscape
Rows upon rows
Textures in twine
Stitched by wheat
Embroidered by barley
Endless colours
Boats casting off

Whimsy from the Isle of Sheppey

Sunday 26 May 2013

The Lime Street Naturalists

It's true what they say
About poems, nature, death and life. 
Pausing for thought whilst looking for 
Scientific heroes amongst rhythm of stones
The musical notes of poetic meter 

The names of my City churches muttered:
Some gone and half forgotten:
Saint Antholin, Benet, Dionis, All Hallows.
The people moved in death by 
A vigorous space needing City

The magpie approaches 
Drawn by my stillness
Looking for life under leaves
His glisten of blue-black-white
Like marble enlivened, shrieks.

The oblivious bee pauses 
Hovers and vanishes
A fleeting meeting of buzz and Ethel
Sweetness over Geranium robertianum
And earthly detritus

The squirrel scratches up the tree
Flickingly shy, peering at me 
Whilst other sounds bring the stones alive
The irony is I'm looking for naturalists 
And they're here, still, looking at nature

Written for the 16th Century Lime Street Naturalists who were moved to the City of London Cemetery in the 1900s.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

The Art of Writing; Or the Science of Writing

'Stop it with all the damn metaphors'
Kirk to 'Bones' McCoy in irritated exasperation 
Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

Science writing has held a peculiar interest for me this week, given my Trekkie credentials. I've seen the new Star Trek movie twice and have contemplated buying the original 'Wrath of Khan' to compare the change in writing and production styles. However for the purposes of these notes, the quote above is the perfect introduction to the Birkbeck Science and Writing Symposium, 21 May 2013.

A universe of cheese and worms
A rare group of people – two poets, a playwright, an astronomer, a science/history/cultural academic, two actors and a cartoonist - were brought together not just to discuss the way they communicate their ideas but to actually demonstrate and showcase their skills. I’m not going to simply narrate what each person said but try to highlight themes. What I must say is, so often at academic symposia the emphasis is on the presentation of paper after paper with little or no presenter animation. No matter how interesting the topic, my eyes glaze over eventually but not here, not this time, we were off; starting with the Big Bang. Before I come on to the themes, I want to dwell a little on the poets and their poetry.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Generic Widgets: Musings on a library budget

It has been said that ‘information is the lifeblood of law and the legal profession’. And to this I would like to add, law firms continue to be the flesh and muscle of the body of knowledge which they make available to clients; good lawyers turn that information into business knowhow. Anatomical analogies are a personal favourite and perhaps to stretch this one, everyone is trying to extract a pound of flesh from the legal corpus as a whole. From clients expecting discounts, lawyers squeezing suppliers and suppliers driving hard bargains, everyone is at it.