GEORGE MACKAY BROWN website
Anecdotes and Memories
a crystallographer by training. A
crystallographer is a scientist whose specialty is to study crystals.
Crystals or crystalline matter, when exposed to intense x-rays
produce a regular patterns of dots.
Analysing these patterns of regularly distributed spots,
crystallographers can unravel the atomic structure of matter in the
crystals. So, what is the connection with GMB?
had encountered 'anti-science' poems before. From the disappointment of
J. Keats in the poem Lamia, where he laments that Mr. Newton was
'Unweaving the Rainbow' by explaining it, to the boring explanations
that Mr. Walt Whitman had to endure by the 'Learned Astronomer' [poem When
I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer included in Leaves of Grass].
However, this graphic description of the effect of science in our world
sounded so desperate that I had to learn more about the poet writing
such an outcry.
a writer myself, I could not resist including in my book a brief poem of
GMB in relation to the definition of poetry:
Dr. Cele Abad-Zapatero, protein crystallographer, published 'Crystals and Life: A Personal Journey' in 2002 [International University Line, La Jolla, CA. USA]
from Flotta Flare Orkney: Pictures
and Poems, 1996 and 1998,
|My grandfather, John Taylor
of Bathgate, Birsay, was 80 in July 1994. I wanted to do something special
for his birthday, and eventually hit on the idea of asking GMB to write
some form of celebratory poem dedicated to Mr. Taylor.
I had never previously had any contact whatsoever with GMB, although my mother was two years behind him at Stromness Academy. However I wrote to him with my request and was delighted to receive a response within a week.
He returned the birthday card which I'd hopefully enclosed. On it he'd written an acrostic poem. GMB ignored my request to name his fee.
Accordingly when visited Orkney that summer, I took with a me a case of 'Brains Beer'. When I called to deliver it, he invited me in and was hospitality itself.
John Taylor, Birsay
|When given a whisky and asked
if he'd like water with it, George would reply, "If there's
See also the Obituary
by Archie Bevan,
friend and literary executor
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