Monthly Archives: November 2009


2 things I’ve learned:

    1. People will give you advice on how to live.  They may be wise; they may have your respect; they may have the best intentions, but it doesn’t mean they know how your life should proceed, or what kind of person you should be.  There is no substitute for self-awareness.
    2. Everyone is sheltered in a different way.

      the poetry of science

      My latest book obsession is a small book of poetry called Darwin’s Microscope by Kelley Swain.  The poems about science, evolution, and Darwin are wonderful and some of them are just skeletons built from the language of science.  Many of us already know that the concepts of science are beautiful; we need more poets to organize the language of science and make us realize that it is poetic.

      The book is only available in the UK; I ordered my copy from Amazon UK.  This is one of my favorite poems from the book:

      Thermodynamics of Immortality

      When I die, scatter my ashes to the wind to settle
      on a forest floor where earthworms buffet

      through rich humus, where I pass from intestines
      as nutrients taken by acorns, sprout, stretch

      toward sunlight, year after year, inch my way to a branch
      steeped with cicada eggs so I fall to the ground

      and burrow, eat sap for seventeen years,
      burst forth for two frenzied days seeking a mate,

      when a burnt-ember cardinal snatches me, red
      and cackling, catching warm air pockets from the pavement

      until winter moves in; I huddle on a branch, fall asleep,
      thud to the cold ground, dissolve slowly

      into the icy creek, flow like mercury,
      weave over stones around roots under branches, turn warm,

      briny, pull into a spiny starfish, pump
      into slow feet, and crawl again.