Swansong

Henry Disney (2024)

Poetry

A final collection of poems by a scientist and poet near the end of an extraordinary life. They reflect on unusual incidents in his life and comments on contemporary concerns of life today. Comments cover politics, current conflicts across the world, impacts of climate change and other concerns are treated with clarity and insight. Some may challenge the reader. Others may reflect concerns shared by the reader.

About this book

The final collection of poems by a scientist and poet near the end of an extraordinary life. They reflect on unusual incidents in his life and comments on contemporary concerns of life today. Comments cover politics, current conflicts across the world, impacts of climate change and other concerns are treated with clarity and insight. Some may challenge the reader. Others may reflect concerns shared by the reader. The narrative style of the poems makes them accessible to a wide range of people who have not read poetry since their school days.
The poems provide comments on life today in the context of someone whose father worked in provincial administration in the Sudan, who has had an extraordinary life in his childhood and youth, including active service during his National Service. With a degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge, he worked in a Field Centre, then as a medical entomologist working in tropical forests in Belize and Cameroon, then in charge of a field centre and nature reserve in Yorkshire and then as a Research Fellow based in the Department of Zoology University of Cambridge, researching the extraordinary habits of scuttle flies across the world. Several poems indicate, his wife, of working-class background, was the gifted support throughout, along with their 3 children.
Concern for the environment, the impact of climate change, wars across the world and bureaucratic nonsense gave rise to several poems, whose insights and comments may surprise. The impacts of these on ordinary people links these concerns to our everyday lives.
Henry Disney has been writing poems since his youth, with first collection being published in 1963.

About Author

Henry Disney

Henry Disney was born in Dorset in 1938. From the age of 3-7 the War resulted in himself and two sisters being separated from their parents, who were stuck in the Sudan. On leaving school in 1957 he did his National Service in the Royal Artillery, becoming a bombardier on active service in Cyprus before becoming a subaltern on Salisbury Plain. He then read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University (with a part I in zoology, botany and geology and a part II in zoology). He was then Assistant Warden of the Flatford Mill Field Centre in Suffolk, mainly teaching field zoology. On marrying the Centre’s secretary, Audrey, they were obliged to leave for a lack of married accommodation. He was then the Medical Entomologist at the Dermal Leishmaniasis Research Unit in British Honduras (Belize), employed by the Ministry of Overseas Development. His research was mainly on the ecology of sandflies (Phlebotominae) and mammals in relation to a parasitic infection contracted by people working in the rainforest. He returned to Bristol University to study for a Certificate in Education. He then joined the Overseas Staff of the Medical Research Council as the Medical Entomologist at the Helminthisasis Research Unit in Cameroon. His work was mainly on the ecology of blackflies (Simuliidae) in relation to river blindness (Onchocerciasis). Having produced three children, each born on a different continent, he and Audrey returned to Britain; where from 1971-1984 he was Director of the Field Centre and National Nature Reserve at Malham Tarn in North Yorkshire. He also carried out research on the natural history and taxonomy of flies (Diptera); mainly [...]

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