Posted on July 18, 2014
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It's cold, it's raining. The What I See offices have run out of milk. What could make us feel better?
An email from one of our ambassadors, Professor Frances Ashcroft - that's what. If you haven't seen her very impressive recital of Thomas Hardy's 'Heredity' during her What I See...Features video, dash right on over and check it out now.
Her poetic knowledge doesn't stop there, however. Just last night project founder Edwina's inbox was graced with another little literary nugget.
Frances had found a W. H. Auden poem called 'After Reading A Child's Guide To Modern Physics', where he describes what he sees in the mirror! If you're looking for your literary lessons light, here is the verse in question:
Though the face at which I stare
While shaving it be cruel
For, year after year, it repels
An ageing suitor, it has,
Thank God, sufficient mass
To be altogether there,
Not an indeterminate gruel
Which is partly somewhere else.
You can read the whole poem here. Like a host of What I See ambassadors and contributors, including Professor Frances herself and physicist Dr. Ceri Brenner, Auden thought of science when he looked in the mirror.
Frances even illuminated some of the poem's meaning - suggesting that 'partly somewhere else' is a reference to the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics, as well as explaining that Auden's face was pretty haggard in his later days because he smoked so much.
So, there you go. You learn something new every day.
Image source - Flickr: Alan Trotter