17.286 things being various

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Oct 08 2003 - 02:16:00 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 286.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Wed, 08 Oct 2003 06:51:33 +0100
             From: Willard Mccarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: things being various

    Thinking lately about the problems of computational modelling, I've been
    particularly open to being told that there's much that escapes any model,
    no matter how fine. The following, to which I was directed by a line quoted
    in a book review on the joys and profits from reading Herodotus, says
    particularly well what I was ready to hear. I send it along, framed by
    computing, in part as reassurance that although nearly everything is lost
    to the computational model, the modeller may actually see more as a result.
    Partly, of course, joys like this must simply be shared.



    The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
    Spawning snow and pink roses against it
    Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
    World is suddener than we fancy it.

    World is crazier and more of it than we think,
    Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
    A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
    The drunkenness of things being various.

    And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
    Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
    On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
    There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

              -- Louis MacNeice

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