Friday, August 05, 2016

Macbeth!


Macbeth is my favorite play. My favorite book. My favorite collection of English words. The poetic beauty of the text, the directness of the plot, the representations of madness, supernatural, and reality, and the shear magnitude of the tragedy are what makes it so fantastic. But although, for all of these reasons, it is one of the easiest of Shakespeare’s plays to read, by the same token it is one of the most difficult to play. The sheer beauty of the spoken words, many of which are directed to nobody, makes it particularly challenging for  actors to value-add through their interaction with each other. Thus it is a rare stage performance which does the masterpiece justice. Luckily for me, the Canberra Repertory Theatre here in town has just put on a great production of the Scottish Play.


This is a gaunt production of Macbeth, with a spare stage and simple costumes. From the opening with the witches as a maleficent blur in the gloom of the stage, the focus quickly shifts to an astoundingly dynamic portrayal of Duncan King of Scots. He imbues the opening scenes with a generosity and a charismatic presence that shows all a king can be. Generous, charismatic, leader of a band of brave yet fragile Scots besieged by Vikings, and completely without guile, it is against this that the brutal but utterly bewitching ambition of Lady Macbeth must seduce, and the two of them wrestle over Macbeth’s heart for all of a lively Act 1.

Of course, we all know how that turns out, and from the moment the blood touches
Macbeth’s hands, he comes into his own, playing off a terrifying Lady Macbeth and a wavering Banquo in the maddening spiral that ends with Banquo’s Banquet. That astoundingly potent scene is followed by the intermission, presumably so that the audience can steady their nerves with a glass or two before coming back for Hecate and her hands.

The last two acts do drag a bit, as they feature many minor and less developed characters, and the witches riddle hasn’t been fresh for 410 years. However, the approach to Lady Macbeth’s downfall was new (at least to me), and as Malcolm and Macduff rouse themselves from their personal grievances and man up to take back control of their country, the play builds back up to its bloody triumph.

All in all, it is a superb production of the great play.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Geosonnet 46



If decompression melting is enhanced
When glacial loads are washed away by rain
Then letting go the ice sheets that advanced
Might wake volcanoes in an arc again.
Unloading helps silicic lavas blow
And then the magma chambers must recharge
Desire for huge eruptions simmers low
Five thousand years ‘till ash beds become large
A glacial load weighs heavy on the soul
Unfreezing lets the middle crust rebound
Explosive lava, free from amphibole
Bursts forth like summer flowers from the ground.
   Frost claims ice will suffice to wreck the world.
   But should it melt, eruptions are unfurled.


 

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Geosonnet 45



When zircon needs to leave its life behind
Clastic witness protection can be used.
Trace element analysis can’t find
The host whose hospitality’s refused.
Once protolith identity is gone
Stool pigeon phase inclusions spill the beans.
When D value deductions can be drawn
In apatite or sphene, we have the means
To fingerprint magmatic strontium
Deducing silica at the same time
Then using cerium and yttrium
Included zircon’s fingered for its crimes.
  A river cruise while host weathers to dust:
  A sedimentary crime of hate, or lust?



Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Geosonnet 44



Antarctica’s a frozen realm of ice
Yet troglodytic hydrospheres remain
Radar reflectors, frozen lakes entice
Ice fishermen to see what they contain
Before the ice age, glacial domes were seas
Below sea sediments can still be found.
The lake is mostly glac’ers which unfreeze
Trapped ocean water seeps up from the ground.
The surface sediments are oxidized.
The sulfate in the brine is unreduced.
Lest oxygen at depth leave us surprised
Dissolved O2 in meltwater’s deduced.
   Alas, no fish were sampled by the drill
   Just microbes that an ice age couldn’t kill



Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Geosonnet 43



Marsupial invaders from the South
Make North America their newfound home.
Alpacas, llamas, spitting from the mouth
Run off to South America to roam.
The rocks in Panama suggest the land
Connected continents by Miocene.
Pliocene movement, on the other hand
Means radiative retardation’s seen.
A sea of trees, could rainforest impair
Migration of savannah-dwelling beast?
The ice age brought colder and drier air
And grasslands on which ungulates can feast.
   Tectonics may have built the bridge of land.
   Ten million years unused, we understand.




Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Geosonnet 42


An alpha particle can break the bonds

Of diamond as it crashes to a halt.
Each glowing lattice defect corresponds
To trace uranium ore by default.
Proterozoic water then dissolves
These min’rals when they weather from the ground.
The age of weathering therefore resolves
Why He but no U in these stones are found.
The sediment’ry age is reconciled
With orphan daughter isotopes of lead
Archean atmosphere O2 reviled.
It must have been in groundwater instead.
   So read this study; cite it frequently.
   (Disclaimer: journal article by me.)



Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Geosonnet 41



The rock of rocks, zircon is not disturbed
As mountains grow, then wash into the sea.
Its isotopic clock is not perturbed
Providing billion year chronomotry.
But like Smaug’s waistcoat, or Achillies’ heel
The Earth’s timekeeper has a fatal strain
A brine containing fluorine is ideal
For mobilizing metals from this grain
Earth’s body’s precious fluids rearrange
The normally immobile REE
And actinides, and other metals strange
To fluid induced rock mobility.
   The thermal history is not innate
   When heat producing elements migrate.



Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41



Sunday, June 05, 2016

Geosonnet 40



The muddy bosom sunset turns to gold
Contrary runs to playa, or to sea.
But though the flow of human blood seems old
‘tis but a spray, seen by geology.
The shady banks, by forests overgrown
Are stabilized by roots of growing trees.
Far different are the rivers Langston’s known
To those which ran ere plants emerged from seas.
The math predicts, and Tombador confirms
Meanders become braids without a plant.
The shallow floodplain channels build up berms.
The mud in verdant floodplains now is scant.
   So when at last we cross the Styx, beware:
   Its lifeless banks will split the channels there.



Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41