JB: I wrote a book called the Identity of Man. I never saw the cover of the English edition until the book reached me in print. And yet the artist had understood exactly what was in my mind, by putting on the cover a drawing of the brain and the Mona Lisa, one on top of the other

City Summer

I could hear silence now,

or snow, falling,
that the ear echoes
and forgets

If silence pricked this restlessness,
this drone, suddenly,
a star to the heat -

silence under the ice
and in the long arches of snowdrifts -

the exigence to and fro,
swelter, and the street-mouthed echo,

I could hear it
like a tree to the rime,
or a bird's wing
that splinters the frost

Source: personal communication from Edward Wiltshire. Poetry first published by the Hogarth Press, 1929

The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski

Copyright © 2000 by Stephen Moss. All rights reserved.