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This poem is taken from PN Review 80, Volume 17 Number 6, July - August 1991.

The Red-Headed Pupil Jeffrey Wainwright

Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaas Tulp 'shows the master-surgeon, surrounded by eager-eyed disciples, in the act of dissecting the left arm of a corpse. The apparent rendering of a real moment involved a good deal of artistic licence since dissection, at that time, started at the stomach, not the arm.'

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Johan Deyman: 'In this, the doctor's assistant holds the top of the skull inverted in his hand like a small basin while the doctor unravels the cadaver's brain. It hangs down on either side of the face like an old pullover. The viewer stares at the underside of the dead man's pale feet.'

Adam Hopkins,
Holland, Its History, Paintings and People, 1988

What is needed is something we do not have: a theory of conscious organisms as physical systems composed of chemical elements and occupying space, which also have an individual perspective on the world, and in some cases the capacity for self-awareness as well.

Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere, 1986

Prologue

Holly how far you are from dying
how far from ever dying! Such a head
of hair a real bonfire flaming in the street

happy in your skin at least as much as
most of us could hope to be, well certainly
lucky-ish so far for nineteen years
with your trapped thumb your only lesion

or serious bump from life - admit it!
Look how the city concrete can turn rose
...


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