by Colin A. Ross, M.D. Publisher's Description: Dr. Colin Ross is unusual in being a poet and a scientist. The two are not coincidental. He has published a story called The Gross Anatomy Lab in a literary journal and poetry in The Lancet. One of his aphorisms is: Against science, against man. But the complete title of the series is "One Hundred Aphorisms: On the Nature of the Spirit." There is no contradiction: on the contrary, the connection is shown to be a necessary one. Here is a practicing psychiatrist who knows that his work, in poetry or in the clinic, has to do both with precision and with the spirit. Some of these poems are fanciful and occasionally phantasmagoric but the most characteristic work uses the resources of verse trenchantly and effectively for the sake of getting things said. In this too Dr. Ross is unusual: he has a number of things to say. They range from comments on poetry and the arts, and evocations of the religions, to observations of people, and medical thinking. Dr. Ross can also be, sometimes disconcertingly, comic in all these areas. The collection demonstrates that English verse can still be used memorably for writing about life, the life of the end of the twentieth century.
MEN GO MAD WITH CAUSE
If Charles weds Diana, the churchman said,
The land will crack, crops fail, the birds fall dead.
O jealous man - observe! Our robin sings,
Our crocus blooms: expect much less from kings.
If King or Prince is weak, we doctors find,
There is much more disturbance of the mind
But not the earth. We learn in books that Lear,
Who raved at night, in rain, felt morbid fear.
Doctors can state the cause: not God, not Fate,
But infantile conflict - love turned to hate.
Yet, the churchman said, men go mad with cause:
They know no better myth than Santa Claus.