2nd Sat Strollers

By AndrewDBurns

the lineal succession of all things

I'm not really one for heroes ... everyone who makes it through the day, is a bit of a hero, as far as I'm concerned ... but if I was pressed, then Charles Darwin (who's Birthday is today) would certainly be on my short-list.

I'm not aware he ever wrote any poetry, but Ruth Padel (who is Darwin's great-great-granddaughter) does write poems; and here she is on the grandeur in every organic being:

More Funny Ideas About Grandeur

'There is grandeur, if you look
      at every organic being
as the lineal successor of some other form,
      now buried under thousands of feet of rock.
Or else as a co-descendant, with that buried form,
      from some other inhabitant of this world
more ancient still, now lost.

Out of famine, death and struggle for existence,
      comes the most exalted end
we're capable of conceiving: creation
      of the higher animals!
Our first impulse is to disbelieve — 
      how could any secondary law
produce organic beings, infinitely numerous,

characterized by most exquisite
      workmanship and adaptation?
Easier to say, a Creator designed each.
      But there is a simple grandeur in this view —
that life, with its power to grow, to reach, feel,
      reproduce, diverge, was breathed
into matter in a few forms first

and maybe only one. To say that while this planet
      has gone cycling on
according to fixed laws of gravity,
      from so simple an origin, through selection
of infinitesimal varieties, endless forms
      most beautiful and wonderful
have been, and are being, evolved.'


Ruth Padel (1946 - )


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