Sunday, January 6, 2008

Opening Post

Gin a fancy meet a fancy
Flyin' through the air.
Gin a fancy hit a fancy,
Will it rain? And where?

The original passage is,

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro' the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?

The full poem is here. It is a poem that seems destined to be reworded and re-sung. Evidently, James Maxwell was quite fond of the poem, rewording it to

Gin a body meet a body
Flyin' through the air.
Gin a body hit a body,
Will it fly? And where?

You can infer that this was the work of a scientist. Indeed, Maxwell is better known as the father of electromagnetism and for the equations named after him. The rigors of science however do not seem to have kept him from dabbling in poetry. Though at times he lectures himself,

Of the Philosophic Spirit
Richly may my son inherit;
As for Poetry, inter it
With the myths of other days.
Cut the thing entirely, lest yon
College Don should put the question,
"Why not stick to what you're best on?
Mathematics always pays."

You can read all of Maxwell's Poems here.

Maxwell was not the only one enthralled by Burns' lines. The protagonist of the novel: The Catcher in the Rye, James Holden, famously mishears a child singing "If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye", instead of "If a body meet a body, coming through the rye." Later, in one of the most memorable passages of the book, he says that he would like to become "the catcher in the rye" when he grows up, standing at the edge of a cliff to gaurd over children joyously playing in a sun-drenched field of rye perched on the cliff.

Related Books

Selected Poems (Robert Burns)
The Catcher in the Rye
Biography of Maxwell