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Saturday 24 March 2012

Joining the dots

" Where are you going, my pretty maid?"
"I'm going a-milking, sir," she said.

How many people
over how many decades

sang that rhyme or heard it sung?
Yet no one - maybe Jenner -thought to ask
the reason for her prettiness.
Why every milking maid was pretty.

(It was a known phenomenon.)
(The cows prescribed them cow pox -
protection from disfigurement
from the deadlier small pox germ.)

And so the phrase a pretty girl
was synonym for not pock marked.
The clues were there, the dots
just waiting to be joined.

The way Marx realised
how plain as day dots ran from filth
in new and crowded cities
to ownership of capital,

the way that Darwin
joined the dots
from  varieties of species
to their various histories,

the way Freud linked
a man's distress
to what he dreamed
at night,

the way that all such thought
is driven by
its time and place
in history,

the way creation's work is done
when in its random scatter
someone sees first principles,
the pattern of a grand design.


This poem is entered for Poetry Jam's Connections prompt.


Mary said...

Dave, I have just read your poem 3 times....connecting more dots....each time..... Really interesting how various people over the centuries have drawn conclusions, made connections. And still, I am sure, there are many more dots to connect.

jabblog said...

This is a wonderful response to the prompt - very clever. I wonder just what dots are being joined now.

Titus said...

Really like that Dave. The milkmaid section is particularly striking; wonderfully developed idea.

Grace said...

I think its a matter of perspective....but then again your thoughts are profound and inspires reflection. Random scatter we may be in the universe, but its all part of the grand design ~

Daydreamertoo said...

This is so insightful. I read somewhere that we know all of the answers to everything but, we haven't yet learned how to ask all the questions.
This is deep and philosophical in many paths of thought.
Enjoyed it very much Dave!

Brian Miller said...

and then as poets we too connect the dots and allow people to see things that otherwise they would not...the dots are there we just have to find them...

kaykuala said...

Pattern of their grand designs! True enough Dave! Marx,Darwin,Freud and others,they came with ideas that rock the world. They joined the dots and came with answers, their brand of answers!


The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting, that adjective pretty Dave. If you asked people to suggest which noun to put with it then I'll bet a large proportion of them would say 'girl' or 'maid'

Helen said...

Connecting the dots ~ of course! I enjoyed this Dave ....... (dot, dot.)

Hannah said...

Oh, yes connecting the dots indeed. Nicely written!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Creation's "random scatter" is really on target.

Your "dots" sound as a powerful allusion and the expression Joining The Dots, so new for me, is splendid.

Windsmoke. said...

Some blokes would say there's another connection to the Pretty Milk Maid, i'll let you join the dots to find out what it is :-).

Carrie Van Horn said...

Patterns of a grand design indeed....wonderful as usual Dave!

Anonymous said...

i like that concept of Darwin joining the dots. he saw the whole picture that way

radiation rampage

David Cranmer said...

Profound lines, Dave.

Kat Mortensen said...

I love how you can start with something so simple and evolve it into something so profound and original. Bravo!

By the way, I would be honoured if you'd take a stab at any of my photos posted at "Imaginary Garden With Real Toads" for the Sunday Challenge.


Jenny Woolf said...

I wonder what we are missing now. Perhaps someone needs to connect the idea that cutting staff and reducing job opportunities is not really the thing that creates a healthy society that we should strive for. But we must then realise that these joined dots will lead to changes in society and become enormous blocks of colour, not dots any more

Dave King said...

Thanks for an excellent set of replies, which I have answered below.
I have to take another health break tomorrow, so do not expect to post again until Tuesday at the earliest.

I think there are as many now as there ever were. Perhaps more.

....... and how long we'll have to wait to find out?

Thanks for this.

And then again... is there any such thing as random?

Yes, I've heard that said also, that we know the answers but not the questions. It sounds like a Clever Dick saying, but I suspect there's a lot of truth in it.

Good point. Absolutely spot on!

Their brand, yes, of course: what else? You have to separate the truths, the connections that they saw from what was then made of their visions - not always by them.

The Weaver of Grass
I remember when I was at school the English master was talking about over-used adjectives like "nice" and "pretty". He asked what we would mean by a nice or a pretty dress. One lad replied: "One that's long enough to cover the point and short enough to be interesting."

Thanks Helen.

Much appreciated. Thanks.

The expression derives from childrens' drawing books in which the drawing exists in dot form and the child simply goes from dot to dot.


Thank you so much for this.

Indeed, he did. He spent very many years joining them.

Thanks David. Very much appreciated.

Thanks Kat. Will certainly go have a looksee. As you would have seen above, though, I don't expect to post again until Tuesday at the earliest.

Manicddaily said...

This is just fascinating. I had not thought about the milkmaid connection and the pox ever. (I'm taken back to Dickens here, thinking of Esther Summerson? Summerset? I can't get her name right, but the character in Bleak House.)

Wonderful poem, in general, but so great the way you actually work in information! K.

Kat Mortensen said...

Hope you're taking it easy, Dave. When you're back, I'll be here!


Margaret said...

Lots of info packed in here, but done in a fun, light way. Who knew learning could be so fun! :)

Anonymous said...

You have such a great collection of poems. Love them. Keep up the good work.