Tuesday, October 20, 2015

As a Yesterday When It Is Passed, And As a Watch In the Night

Hasn't anyone else noticed
That on Earth at least, everything
Except the decelerating
Planet itself accelerates?

Perhaps it's only perspective,
But I doubt it. The more recent
Remains over-represented;
The deep past should appear lesser.

Instead it extends and extends.
Everything changed more slowly then,
When the Earth rotated so fast
The sun spun around in eight hours.

Here. The first half of life on Earth,
No, at least the first three quarters,
Was given over to oceans
Of single-called organisms.

It's not that there are no fossils.
The fossils are small and boring.
Even granting a late-ish date
For the appearance of real life

And an early date for the start
Of multicellularity,
Three quarters of life's history
Was for free, little cells only.

In another tenth of the time,
Assuming one counts time by years,
Circuits of our spitball around
The distant orange of our sun,

Life had exploded into forms
Elaborate, large, and grotesque.
Those, in another twentieth,
Had finally conquered the land,

Generating forests and wings
Of multiple innovations
And enormous, lumbering things.
Despite mass extinctions, nothing

Much shifted suites of strategies
For another twentieth, then
The luxurious Cretaceous,
Another extinction event,

Whose fault, perhaps, was in the stars,
And there's only a fortieth
Part left now since first emergence
Until the moment I write this,

And that fortieth is the age
Of mammals, the great crescendo
Of complex individuals
Culminating in the Blue Whale,

Largest animal ever was.
But that symphonic explosion
Crested with two one thousandths left
For a new bipedal madness.

And of that two thousandths one half
For recognizable culture,
And of that thousandth, two thirds
For spreading around half the Earth,

And of the third of a thousandth
Remaining, say, four fifths of that
To get to the heart of the us,
Then another nine tenths of that

Heart of us as we are to get
To the lip of anthropocene,
The first half of which was quiet,
Until agriculture took hold,

The first half of which was quiet
Until literacy took hold,
And of the fifty centuries,
Forty the same, only the last

Ten grown, globally, out of hand,
And of those ten, only the last
Two traveling faster than horse,
One flying, and half of one launched

Into monitoring orbits
The last half of a half have turned
Into a single web of mind,
Spinning itself Fibonacci.

The days, however, are longer,
And the dark at the end the same.
Life devours the rock's rotations
Escaping the end of life's games.

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