40 Eridani A

Friday, 5 May 2017

Michel de Montaigne

Prose

Livy (64 or 59 BCE – 17 CE):
Nothing is more deceitful than a depraved piety by which the will of the gods serves as a pretext for crimes.

Suetonius (c69 – after 122 CE):
He who suffers before he needs to, suffers more than he needs to.
(Life of Caesar)

The Road to Perdition


There is a plague on Man: his opinion that he knows something.
That is why ignorance is so strongly advocated by our religion as a quality appropriate to belief and obedience.
(pp 543-4)

In Man curiosity is an innate evil, dating from his origins …
The original Fall occurred when Man was anxious to increase his wisdom and knowledge: that path led headlong to eternal damnation.
Pride undoes man; it corrupts him; pride makes him leave the trodden paths, welcome novelty and prefer to be the leader of a lost band wandering along the road to perdition …
(p 555)

Whatever share in the knowledge of Truth we may have obtained, it has not been acquired by our own powers.
God has clearly shown us that [by choosing from among the common people] simple and ignorant apostles to bear witness of his wondrous secrets …
Our religion did not come to us through reasoned arguments or from our own intelligence: it came to us from outside authority, by commandments.
That being so, weakness of judgement helps us more than strength; blindness, more than clarity of vision.
We become learned in God's wisdom more by ignorance than by knowledge.
It is not surprising that our earth-based, natural means cannot conceive knowledge which is heaven-based and supernatural; let us merely bring our submissiveness and obedience …
(p 557)

Our minds are dangerous tools, rash and prone to go astray: it is hard to reconcile them with order and moderation. …
It is a miracle if you find one who is settled and civilized.
We are right to erect the strictest possible fences around the human mind. …
Certainly few souls are so powerful, so law-abiding and so well endowed that we can trust them to act on their own, allowing them liberty of judgement to sail responsibly and moderately beyond accepted opinion.
It is more expedient to keep them under tutelage.
(pp 629-30)

Every single idea which results from our own reflections and our own faculties — whether it is true or false — is subject to dispute and uncertainty. …
Everything we undertake without God's help, everything we try and see without the lamp of his grace, is vanity and madness.

(An apology for Raymond Sebond, p 622)


St Hilary, the Bishop of Poitiers and a famous enemy of the Arian heresy, was in Syria when he was told that his only daughter Abra, whom he had left overseas with her mother, was being courted by some of the most notable lords of the land …
He wrote to her … saying that he had found for her during his journey a Suitor who was far greater and more worthy, a Bridegroom of very different power and glory, who would vouchsafe her a present of robes and jewels of countless price.
His aim was to make her lose the habit and taste of worldly pleasures and to wed her to God; but since the most sure and shortest way seemed to him that his daughter should die, he never ceased to beseech God in his prayers, vows and supplications that he should take her from this world and call her to Himself.
And so it happened: soon after his return she did die, at which he showed uncommon joy. …

[And,] when St Hilary's wife heard from him how the death of their daughter had been brought about by his wish and design, and how much happier she was to have quitted this world than to have remained in it, she too took so lively a grasp on that eternal life in Heaven that she besought her husband, with the utmost urgency, to do the same for her.
Soon after, when God took her to Himself in answer to both their prayers, the death was welcomed with open arms and with an uncommon joy which both of them shared.

(On fleeing from pleasures at the cost of one's life, p 246)


Honour and Freedom


I condemn all violence in the education of tender minds which are being trained for honour and freedom … and I hold that you will never achieve by force what you cannot achieve by reason, intelligence and skill. …
I have never seen caning achieve anything except making souls more cowardly or more maliciously stubborn. …
[Indeed, even] if I were able to make myself feared [by my children,] I would rather make myself loved.

(On the affection of fathers for their children, pp 437 & 441)



Anyone can see that all things within a State depend upon the way it educates and brings up its children.
Yet quite injudiciously that is left to the mercy of the parents, no matter how mad or wicked they may be.
How many times have I been tempted, among others things, to make a dramatic intervention so as to avenge some little boys whom I saw being bruised, knocked about and flayed alive by some frenzied father or mother beside themselves with anger.
You can see fire and rage flashing from their eyes …

(On Anger, p 809)


(The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, M A Screech, Translator, Penguin, 1991)


peaceandlonglife

Control through Fear
Education through Violence
Dominance through Force
Obedience through Submission

Submission is a poor substitute for respect.
Fear instils only servility; it does not command respect.
It is important not to mistake one for the other.

(23 April 2017)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Prose

Peace and Long Life

Nicolas de Caritat (1743–1794) [Marquis de Condorcet]:
The time will come, when the sun will shine only on free men, who know no other master, but their reason.

John Clarke (1948–2017):
Reason is a tool.
Try to remember where you left it.
(John Clarke's Poetry, Earshot, ABC Radio National, 15 April 2017)

James Cabell (1879–1958):
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
(The Silver Stallion, 1926)

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951):
Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.
(Philosophical Investigations, 3rd Ed, 1967, Blackwell, p 4)

Arthur Clarke (1917–2008):
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Isaac Asimov (1920–1992):
[Science] gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.

Democritus (c460–c370 BCE):
The wise man belongs to all countries, for the home of a great soul is the whole world.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527):
It is much safer to be feared than loved.
Love is sustained by a bond of gratitude which, because men are excessively self-interested, is broken whenever they see a chance to benefit themselves.
But fear is sustained by a dread of punishment that is always effective.

Ralph Emerson (1803-1882):
The order of things is as good as the character of the population permits.
(The Conservative, 1841)

Jules Verne (1828–1905):
The sea is everything.
It covers seven tenths of the globe …
The sea is only a receptacle for all the prodigious, supernatural things that exist inside it.
It is only movement and love; it is the living infinite.
(Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1870)

H L Mencken (1880–1956):
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

Herman Melville (1819–1891):
He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it …
(Moby Dick, Chapter 41, 1851)

Imam Ali (599-661):
Knowledge is power …
(Saying 146, Nahj Al-Balagha)

Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827):
An intelligence that, at a given instant, could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings that make it up, if moreover it were vast enough to submit these data to analysis, would encompass in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atoms.
For such an intelligence nothing would be uncertain, and the future, like the past, would be open to its eyes. (Philosophical Essay on Probabilities)

Plato (c428–c347 BCE):
[How] can he who has magnificence of mind and is the spectator of all time and all existence, think much of human life?
(Republic, c380 BCE)

It has been proved to us by experience that if we would have true knowledge of anything we must be quit of the body …
[For] if while in company with the body the soul cannot have pure knowledge, knowledge must be attained after death, if at all.
For the impure are not permitted to approach the pure. …
And what is purification but the separation of the soul from the body? …
And this separation and release of the soul from the body is termed death.
(Phaedo)

Pliny (23-79):
There is nothing certain except that nothing is certain …
(Naturalis Historia, II, p vii)


Kim Robinson (1952)

    Are you conscious?
    I don’t know. …
    I cannot pass a Turing test …
    [Would] you like to play chess?
    Ha!
    If only it were chess! …
    If it were chess, what move should I make next?
    It’s not chess.

(p 336)

Our stories go on [for] a while; some genes and words persist; then we go away.
It was a hard thing to remember.
And as [they went] back inside, she once again forgot it.
(p 200)

[The terrarium] was a classic New Englander, with a few small clapboard villages and some pasturage breaking up a hardwood and onifer mixed forest.
It was October there, and the maples had gone red, so that there were trees violently yellow, orange, red, and green, all mixed and scattered together over the inside of the cylinder, such that when you looked up at overhead, it appeared to be a speechless speech in some kind of round color language, trembling on the edge of meaning. …
One day she took up leaves that had fallen and arranged them across a clearing so that they went from red to orange to yellow to yellow-green to green, in a smooth progression.
This colored line on the land pleased her greatly, as did the wind that blew it away.
(p 540-1)

(2312, Orbit, 2012)


Edward Gibbon (1737–1794)


In the reign of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections.
Humanity is shocked at the recital of the horrid cruelties which they committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus, and of Cyrene, where they dwelt in treacherous friendship with the unsuspecting natives; and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of fanatics whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind.
The enthusiasm of the Jews was supported by the opinion that it was unlawful for them to pay taxes to an idolatrous master, and by the flattering promise which they derived from their ancient oracles, that a conquering Messiah would soon arise, destined to break their fetters, and to invest the favorites of heaven with the empire of the earth.
(p 111)

Notwithstanding these repeated provocations, the resentment of the Roman princes expired after the victory, nor were their apprehensions continued beyond the period of war and danger.
By the general indulgence of Polytheism, and by the mild temper of Antonius Pius, the Jews were restored to their ancient privileges …
Such gentle treatment insensibly assuaged the stern temper of the Jews.
Awakened from their dream of prophecy and conquest, they assumed the behavior of peaceable and industrious subjects.
Their irreconcilable hatred of mankind, instead of flaming out in acts of blood and violence, evaporated in less dangerous gratifications.
They embraced every opportunity of overreaching the idolaters in trade …

The difference between [the disciples of Christ and followers of Moses] is simple and obvious, but, according to the sentiments of antiquity, it was of the highest importance.
  • The Jews were a nation,
  • the Christians were a sect
By their lofty claim of superior sanctity the Jews might provoke the Polytheists to consider them as an odious and pure race.
By disdaining the intercourse of other nations they might deserve their contempt.
The laws of Moses might be for the most part frivolous or absurd; yet, since they had been received during many ages by a large society, his followers were justified by the example of mankind, and it was universally acknowledged that they had a right to practice what it would have been criminal in them to neglect.

But this principle, which protected the Jewish synagogue, afforded not any favor or security to the primitive church.
By embracing the faith of the Gospel the Christians incurred the supposed guilt of an unnatural; unpardonable offence.
They dissolved the sacred ties of custom and education, violated the religious institutions of their country, and presumptuously despised whatever their fathers had believed as true or had reverenced as sacred. …
It was in vain that the oppressed believer asserted the inalienable rights of conscience and private judgment.
Though his situation might excite the pity, his arguments could never reach understanding, either of the philosophic or of the believing part of the Pagan world. …
Malice and prejudice concurred in representing the Christians as a society of atheists, who, by the most daring attack on the religious constitution of the empire, had merited the severe animadversion of the civil magistrate.

(Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776-89, Rosemary Williams, Editor, Abridged and Illustrated, PRC, 1979, p 112)


Greg Bear (1951)


The biological weapons and processes in [Quantico] are possible, but not in the way I have described them.
I have tried to persuade of the dangers without providing salient details.

The dangers are real, and immediate.
Sober judgment, self-less, nonpartisan planning, and sanity are the only solutions.

For those who go in harm's way, there is ultimately no politics.
Only pain, loss, death — and hope.

(Quantico, Harper, 2015, p 439)


Harbinger

The [Guest] lifted its head and said very clearly,
    I am sorry, but there is bad news.
(p 14)
    If you have the ability to leave, you will wish to do so.
    A disease has entered your system of planets.
    There is little time left for your world. …
    Our world is doomed? …
    Unless I sadly misknow your abilities, yes.
(p 42)
    Do you believe in God?
Without a moments hesitation, the Guest replied,
    We believe in punishment.
(p 62)

The woman turned and [he saw that] she was strikingly beautiful, tall and Nordic, a long face with [a] perfectly cut nose, clear blue eyes and lips both sensual and faintly disapproving.
He looked away quickly, all to intensely aware [that] she was [out of his league.]
He had long since learned that [women of this calibre] paid little attention to men of his mild appearance and social standing. …
[Then came] the high, painful interior singing he had always know when in the presence of the desirable and inaccessible woman, not lust, but an almost religious longing.
(p 270)

(The Forge of God, 1987, Gollancz, 2010)


Charles Dickens (1812–1870)


She raised her eyes to the bright stars, looking down so mildly from the wide worlds of air, and, gazing on them, found new stars burst upon her view, and more beyond, and more beyond again, until the whole great expanse sparkled with shining spheres, rising higher and higher in immeasurable space, eternal in their numbers as in their changeless and incorruptible existence.
(Ch 42)

On every side, and far as the eye could see into the heavy distance, tall chimneys, crowding on each other, and presenting that endless repetition of the same dull, ugly, form, which is the horror of oppressive dreams, poured out their plague of smoke, obscured the light, and made foul the melancholy air.
On mounds of ashes by the wayside, sheltered only by a few rough boards, or rotten penthouse roofs, strange engines spun and writhed like tortured creatures; clanking their iron chains, shrieking in their rapid whirl from time to time as though in torment unendurable, and making the ground tremble with their agonies. …
Men, women, children, wan in their looks and ragged in attire, tended the engines, fed their tributary fire, begged upon the road, or scowled half-naked from the doorless houses.

(The Old Curiosity Shop, 1840-1, Ch 45)


David Hume (1711-1776)


The sweetest and most inoffensive path of life leads through the avenues of knowledge and learning; and anyone who can either remove any obstacles along the path or open up new views ought to that extent to be regarded as a benefactor to mankind. …

Here indeed lies the justest and most plausible objection against a considerable part of metaphysics, that they are not properly a science; but arise either from the fruitless efforts of human vanity, which would penetrate into subjects utterly inaccessible to the understanding, or from the craft of popular superstitions, which, being unable to defend themselves on fair ground, raise these entangling brambles to cover and protect their weakness.
Chased from the open country, these robbers fly into the forest, and lie in wait to break in upon every unguarded avenue of the mind, and overwhelm it with religious fears and prejudices. …

Accurate and just reasoning is the only catholic remedy, fitted for all persons and all disposition; and is alone able to subvert that abstruse philosophy and metaphysical jargon, which, being mixed up with popular superstition, renders it in a manner impenetrable to careless reasoners, and gives it the air of science and wisdom.

Philosophers, that give themselves airs of superior wisdom and sufficiency, have a hard task, when they encounter persons of inquisitive dispositions, who push them from every corner, to which they retreat, and who are sure at last to bring them to some dangerous dilemma.
The best expedient to prevent this confusion, is to be modest in our pretensions; and even to discover the difficulty ourselves before it is objected to us.
By this means, we may make a kind of merit of our very ignorance. …

A wise man … proportions his belief to the evidence. …
A hundred instances or experiments on one side and fifty on another, afford a doubtful expectation of any event; though a hundred uniform experiments, with only one that is contradictory, reasonably beget a pretty strong degree of assurance.
In all cases we must balance the opposite experiments … and deduct the smaller number from the greater, in order to know the exact force of the superior evidence. …

[In the case of human testimony we] entertain a suspicion concerning any matter of fact,
  • when the witnesses contradict each other;
  • when they are but few, or of a doubtful character;
  • when they have an interest in what they affirm; [and / or]
  • when they deliver the testimony with hesitation, or on the contrary, with too violent asseveration.

(Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Eric Steinberg, Editor, 1777)


Rachel Carson (1907–1964)


[On the island's] western shore the wet sand of the narrow beach caught the same reflection of palely gleaming sky that laid a bright path across the water from island beach to horizon.
Both water and sand were the colour of steel overlaid with the sheen of silver, so that it was hard to say where water ended and land began. …

With the dusk a strange bird came to the island from its nesting grounds on the outer banks. …
[And as] he neared the shore [the pure black] skimmer drifted closer to the water, bringing his dark form into strong silhouette against the grey sheet, like the shadow of a great bird [passing] unseen above.
[So] quietly did he approach that the sound of his wings … was lost in the whisper song of the water turning over shells on the wet sand. …

Shadowy forms moved through the night skies and pipings so soft as barely to be audible drifted down to [the sleeping villages] below, as the birds of shore and marsh poured northward along ancestral air lanes, seeking their nesting places.

(Under the Sea-Wind, 1952)


Babbage and Lovelace


Charles Babbage (1791–1871)

It is the science of calculation — which becomes continually more necessary at each step of our progress, and which must ultimately govern the whole of the applications of science to the arts of life.
(p 114)

[If, in the future, any man should succeed in] constructing an [analytical] engine embodying in itself the whole of the executive department of mathematical analysis upon different principles or by simpler mechanical means, I have no fear of leaving my reputation in his charge, for he alone will be fully able to appreciate the nature of my efforts and the value of their results.
(p 123)

Every shower that falls, every change of temperature that occurs, and every wind that blows, leaves on the vegetable world the traces of its passage; slight, indeed, and imperceptible, perhaps, to us, but no the less permanently recorded in the depths of those wood fabrics.
(p 121)


Ada Lovelace (1815–1852)

[Imagination] is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science.
It is that which feels & discovers what is, the real which we see not, which exists not for our senses.
Those who have learned to walk on the threshold of the unknown worlds … may then, with the fair white wings of Imagination, hope to soar further into the unexplored amidst which we live.

(James Gleick, The Information, Fourth Estate, 2011, p 112)


London Examiner

With an understanding thoroughly masculine in solidity, grasp and firmness, Lady Lovelace had all the delicacies of the most refined female character.
Her manners, her tastes, her accomplishments, were feminine in the nicest sense of the word; and the superficial observer would never have divined the strength and the knowledge that lay hidden under the womanly graces.

(Jack Rochester and John Gantz, The Naked Computer, Morrow, 1983, p 44)

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Dylan Thomas

Prose

[The] morning fishwife gulls … heckling over Donkey Street, observe: …
Mrs Dai Bread Two,
gypsied to kill in a silky scarlet petticoat above my knees,
dirty pretty knees,
see my body through my petticoat brown as a berry,
high-heel shoes with one heel missing,
tortoiseshell comb in my bright black slinky hair,
nothing else at all but a dab of scent,
lolling gaudy at the doorway,
tell your fortune in the tea-leaves,
scowling at the sunshine,
lighting up my pipe; …

Miss Price,
in my pretty print housecoat,
deft at the clothesline,
natty as a jenny-wren,
then pit-pat back to my egg in its cosy,
my crisp toast-fingers,
my homemade plum and butterpat; …

Polly Garter,
under the washing line, giving the breast in the garden to my bonny new baby.
Nothing grows in our garden, only washing.
And babies.
And where's their fathers live, my love?
Over the hills and far away.
You're looking up at me now.
I know what you're thinking, you poor little milky creature.
You're thinking, you're no better than you should be, Polly, and that's good enough for me. …

Polly Garter [Singing]:
I loved a man whose name was Tom
He was strong as a bear and two yards long
I loved a man whose name was Dick
He was big as a barrel and three feet thick
And I loved a man whose name was Harry
Six feet tall and sweet as a cherry
But the one I loved best awake or asleep
Was little Willy Wee and he's six feet deep.

Oh Tom Dick and Harry were three fine men
And I'll never have such loving again
But little Willy Wee who took me on his knee
Little Willy Wee was the man for me.


Eli Jenkins:
Every morning, when I wake,
Dear Lord, a little prayer I make,
O please to keep Thy lovely eye
On all poor creatures born to die.

And every evening at sun-down
I ask a blessing on the town,
For whether we last the night or no
I'm sure is always touch-and-go.

We are not wholly bad or good
Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
To see our best side, not our worst.

O let us see another day!
Bless us this holy night, I pray,
And to the sun we all will bow
And say, goodbye - but just for now! …


Captain Cat:
I'll tell you no lies.
The only sea I saw
Was the seesaw sea
With you riding on it.
Lie down, lie easy.
Let me shipwreck in your thighs.

To Begin at the Beginning


[Silence …]
[Very softly]

It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent, and the hunched courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.
The houses are:
  • blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or
  • blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by:
    • the pump and the town clock,
    • the shops in mourning,
    • the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds.
And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.

Hush,
  • the babies are sleeping,
  • the farmers, the fishers,
  • the tradesmen and pensioners,
  • cobbler, schoolteacher,
  • postman and publican,
  • the undertaker and the fancy woman,
  • drunkard, dressmaker,
  • preacher [and] policeman,
  • the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives.
Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organplaying wood.
The boys are dreaming wicked or of the bucking ranches of the night and the jolly, rodgered sea.

  • And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields,
  • and the cows in the byres,
  • and the dogs in the wetnosed yards;
  • and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs. …

Only your eyes are unclosed, to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep.
And you alone can hear the [dew falling, the hushed town breathing, and] the darkest-before-dawn minutely dewgrazed stir of the black, dab-filled sea where:
  • the Arethusa, the Curlew
  • the Skylark, Zanzibar, [and] Rhiannon,
  • the Rover, the Cormorant and the Star of Wales,
tilt and ride.

Listen [to the] night moving in the streets, the processional salt slow musical wind in Coronation Street and Cockle Row, it is the grass growing on Llareggub Hill, dew fall, star fall, the sleep of birds in Milk Wood. …

It is night,
  • in the chill, squat chapel, hymning, in bonnet and brooch and bombazine black, butterfly choker and bootlace bow, coughing like nannygoats, sucking mintoes, fortywinking hallelujah;
  • night in the four-ale, quiet as a domino;
  • in Ocky Milkman's loft, like a mouse with gloves;
  • in Dai Bread's bakery, flying like black flour.
It is tonight in Donkey Street, trotting silent, with seaweed on its hooves, along the cockled cobbles,
  • past curtained fernpot,
  • text and trinket,
  • harmonium [and] holy dresser,
  • watercolours done by hand,
  • china dog and rosy tin teacaddy.
It is night, neddying among the snuggeries of babies.

Look.
It is night,
  • dumbly, royally winding through the Coronation cherry trees;
  • going through the graveyard of Bethesda, with winds gloved and folded and dew doffed;
  • tumbling by the Sailors Arms. …

Come closer now.
Only you can hear the houses sleeping in the streets in the slow deep salt and silent black, bandaged night.
Only you can see, in the blinded bedrooms,
  • the coms and petticoats over the chairs,
  • the jugs and basins,
  • the glasses of teeth,
  • Thou Shalt Not on the wall, and
  • the yellowing dickybird-watching pictures of the dead.
Only you can hear and see, behind the eyes of the sleepers,
  • the movements and countries,
  • mazes and colours, …
  • dismays and rainbows, …
  • tunes and wishes, …
  • [the] flight and [the] fall, and …
  • [the] big seas of their dreams.

[Listen:] you can hear their dreams. …

At the sea-end of town, Mr and Mrs Floyd, the cocklers, are sleeping as quiet as death, side by wrinkled side, toothless, salt, and brown, like two old kippers in a box. …

Alone until she dies, Bessie Bighead, hired help, born in the workhouse, smelling of the cowshed, … picks a posy of daisies in Sunday Meadow to put on the grave of Gomer Owen who kissed her once by the pig-sty when she wasn't looking and never kissed her again although she was looking all the time. …

Willy Nilly postman downs his last bucket of black brackish tea and rumbles out bandy to the clucking back where the hens twitch and grieve for their tea-soaked sops.

Mrs Willy Nilly full of tea to her double-chinned brim broods and bubbles over her coven of kettles on the hissing hot range always ready to steam open the mail. …

Up the street, in the Sailors Arms, Sinbad Sailors, grandson of Mary Ann Sailors, draws a pint in the sunlit bar.
The ship's clock in the bar says half past eleven.
Half past eleven is opening time.
The hands of the clock have stayed still at half past eleven for fifty years.
It is always opening time in the Sailors Arms. …

A car drives to market, full of fowls and a farmer.
Milk churns stand at Coronation Corner like short, silver policemen. …

The morning's busy as bees.
[Out background organ music]
There's the clip clop of horses on the sunhoneyed cobbles of the humming streets, hammering of horseshoes, gobble quack and cackle, tomtit twitter from the bird-ounced boughs, braying on Donkey Down.
Bread is baking, pigs are grunting, chop goes the butcher, milk churns bell, tills ring, sheep cough, dogs shout, saws sing.
Oh,
the Spring whinny and morning moo from the clog dancing farms,
the gulls' gab and rabble on the boat bobbing river and sea and
the cockles bubbling in the sand, scamper of sanderlings, curlew cry, crow caw, pigeon coo, clock strike, bull bellow, and
the ragged gabble of the beargarden school as the women scratch and babble in Mrs Organ Morgan's general shop where everything is sold: custard, buckets, henna, rat-traps, shrimp nets, sugar, stamps, confetti, paraffin, hatchets, whistles. …

Outside, the sun springs down on the rough and tumbling town.
It runs through the hedges of Goosegog Lane, cuffing the birds to sing.
Spring whips green down Cockle Row, and the shells ring out.
Llareggub this snip of a morning is wildfruit and warm, the streets, fields, sands and waters springing in the young sun. …

Spring stirs Gossamer Beynon, schoolmistress, like a spoon. …

Gossamer Beynon high-heels out of school.
The sun hums down through the cotton flowers of her dress into the bell of her heart and buzzes in the honey there and couches and kisses, lazy-loving and boozed, in her red-berried breast.
Eyes run from the trees and windows of the street steaming, 'Gossamer', and strip her to the nipples and the bees.
She blazes naked past the Sailors' Arms, the only woman on the Dai-Adamed earth. …

[The] clocks with no hands [are] forever drumming out [the] time without ever knowing what time it is. …

[A long silence]
The sunny slow lulling afternoon yawns and moons through the dozy town.
The sea lolls, laps and idles in, with fishes sleeping in [her] lap.
The meadows still as Sunday, the shut-eye tasselled bulls, the goat-and-daisy dingles, nap happy and lazy.
The dumb duck-ponds snooze.
Clouds sag and pillow on Llareggub Hill.
Pigs grunt in a wet wallow-bath, and smile as they snort and dream. …
[And the donkeys] angelically drowse on Donkey Down. …

Blind Captain Cat climbs into his bunk. Like a cat, he sees in the dark.
Through the voyages of his tears, he sails to see the dead.

(Under Milkwood, 1953)