Monday 9th March, 7.30pm
Lloyd Room, Christ's College
Boris Jardine, PhD student at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, will speak on Darwin's microscopic practices: the rocks, plants and creatures that resolved into his view, from Beagle to barnacles.
Poet Kelley Swain will then read from her new work entitled Darwin's Microscope (Flambard Press, 2009), an exploration of Darwin's life and influence, and of the poetics of looking closely into the natural world.
Please RSVP to Melanie Keene (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kelley's poem 'Fossil Memories' is reproduced below:
. . . or, what is left of Darwin
What is left of a man
when two hundred years have passed,
his cousins distantly pleased
with their thin-running blood,
his face on a banknote,
his home a museum
where ten children played, where he fell ill
and roused himself to walks and work countless times,
where he loved his family but lost his faith,
where he hesitated and wondered and was spooked
into writing a book which changed our future
as well as our past.
See him wrapped in cold towels
shaking with fever, or turning from his daughter’s
death-bed, knowing his wife’s God
would be her only solace,
or turning from his son’s death-bed,
never saying aloud how nature had selected against
this loved but deficient boy.
See him hunched at a wooden table,
one hundred barnacles systematically aligned,
his touchy stomach the worse for the alcohol-preservative smell,
his eyes squinted towards the creatures he came to hate.
Weathering of time,
rust of human memory,
snowflakes of a glacier,
pebbles of a mountain,
fist-sized rock of a whale’s baleen,
little but a fossil of a man.