Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
December 31, 2004
God Knows

Please excuse the well-known quotation, but I have found it worthy of repeated introspection.

I said to the man
who stood at the gate of the year,
'Give me a light that I may tread safely
into the unknown.'
And he replied,
'Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you
better than light
and safer than a known way!'
So I went forth
and finding the Hand of God,
trod gladly into the night.
And he led me towards the hills
and the breaking of day in the lone East.

Minnie Louise Haskins 1875-1957

The poem was written in Bristol in 1908 by Minnie Louise Haskins, a retired lecturer at the London School of Economics as the introduction to a poem called The Desert. The poem was famously broadcast by King George VI in 1939.

Posted by nathan at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)


The Riddle of the World

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of mankind is man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or beast;
In doubt his mind and body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err;
Whether he thinks to little, or too much;
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself, abused or disabused;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

The Riddle of the World
Alexander Pope

The famous Greek maxim "Know Thyself" is attributed to any number of ancient Greek philosophers, including the great Socrates. However, according to the ancient historian Plutarch, "Know Thyself" was originally the admonition "Gnothi se auton" ("Know Thyself") inscribed on the Sun god Apollo's Oracle of Delphi temple in ancient Greece. Plutarch should know about the inscription on the Oracle, since he was once one of its caretakers.

Posted by nathan at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)


December 30, 2004
Supple skin

Laughter has a curious effect. On the person laughing and those nearby. Uncontrollable muscular spasms, sounds of joy and anguish, facial contortions. Laughter is contagious, willing others to join in, or at least crack a smile.

I hear the sound of distant laughter.

Posted by nathan at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)


December 29, 2004
Well dream

My eyes open as I jolt awake. That sudden mindrush of adjustment from uncomfortable sleep to confusion, then ache and cramp all over as I stand in the confined cylinder. Where am I? How did I get here? I'm wet and dirty. The walls are a black lustrous mud with occasional irregulartities. Water trickles down the sides in the unrelenting, minute silence. I was sleeping in the water and muck on the ground. It's dark, but I see the puddle glint beneath my feet. I tip my head back and strain to see the pale circle of light above. What comes next?

Posted by nathan at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)


December 28, 2004
Don't look back in anger

I am thinking of recommencing posting to this public version of my blog after a gap of some seventeen months.

I feel like the victim of a pavement assault, slowly struggling to my feet, collecting my belongings and my wits about me, inspecting my dusty clothes and scratched hands before deciding which way I should walk along the dark streets. Through the orange puddles cast by the streetlights.

Posted by nathan at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)