Jul/Aug 2012 Poetry

Means of Dispersal

by Rae Spencer

Means of Dispersal

"When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled." —Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species

He spent pages contemplating seeds
How some survived in seawater
Others in the crops of owls
In the feces of locusts
In the stomachs of fish
Frozen in icebergs
Dried in a clump of mud
Between the toes of a partridge

"In the course of two months,
I picked up in my garden 12 kinds of seeds,
out of the excrement of small birds, and these
seemed perfect..."

How long in the garden?
Hovering over phials of curiosity
Some rank with the rot of failure
Others yielding green secrets
To the man who struggled to ask
Is there another explanation?
And in the end answered himself
With seed, with barnacles and pigeons

"...from so simple a beginning
endless forms most beautiful and most
wonderful have been, and are being

So Darwin concluded
Without the benefit of Mendel's peas
Or Watson, Crick, and Franklin's helices
Without diffusion gels
Sequencers and microchips
Argument is as simple as a garden
Heavy and sweet with fruit
Ripe with answers


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