Wednesday, 13 April 2011

On Listening to Dawkins in the Early Morning

You sleep.

(we call it a sickness
      Encephalitis lethargica

You fumble through life,
reaching out and touching familiarities.
Reaching out and grasping the expected smoothness of an egg
and cracking it into a bowl –
    a convenient meal
    not a slow and delicate perfection of life held in your hands,
    not a perfect mathematical curve evolved to protect its contents,
    not the nascent realisation of amorphous amoeba
    hard-eyed lizard
    feathered thing that flies.

Wonder of wonders – you have created a scrambled egg
(well fed, we sigh)

You sleep through life.

(we call it a sickness
      Myalgic Encephalomyelitis      

Your anaesthetic glances are free of perception.
Your world is nothing but a slow waking
      and a drifting off again
      and our supercilious gaze
      glides in smugness over your satisfied life.
You glimpse faces through a half-closed mind,
Seeing mouth and nose and
  eyes as familiar as clockwork
No rods and cones eked from slow evolution
      from slow accident, from a gradual
      falling into place
      and working,
      and working better
Until the moment came that we
                                  (that our ancestral forms, we correct ourselves)
      could see.

We see  (brackets are not needed for this wondrous truth)

(we call it a perfection of vision,
      Bipolar disorder
      Clinical depression

The Victorians sit weighty on our shoulders
      and Hardy's startled fossil eyes stare at us
      as our fingers slip from the cliff face.
And Darwin watches in silent appreciation
      of what we have won and what we have lost
      (his daughter at his shoulder, his daughter at his shoulder)
      One kind of faith slipped into an envelope
      and lost in a bureau drawer
            (a newspaper clipping we hope one day to remember)
      and another kind of faith laid down for us to cling to –
      so that instead of seeing scrambled eggs and limpid eyes,
      we could feel our connection to the deep, dark days,
      and feed our dissatisfied minds.

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