Friday, October 29, 2021

Euhemerism Erumpent

It wasn’t always like this, and it was
Ever thus. That it wasn’t always like
This was ever thus. It’s good packaging

That keeps collective memory alive,
And that means phrases coiled within stories
Like snakes of DNA wrapped in histones.

The geomyths that help populations
Recall what the larger world gets up to
Over multigenerational frames

Vary widely in gossipy details
Inevitably involving human
Relations, right and wrong, social standing,

But that packs in the core information
Snugly and more stably. The Makin tale
Of how three erumpent coral boulders

Ended up just offshore, two protruding,
One submerged, may involve an angry king
Rejecting a tribute of rotten fruit

And sending out three waves of destruction
But showing his mercy on the third one,
Or it may involve the ire of a man

Cheated by the neighboring islanders
Who never shared the good cuts of dolphins.
He raised waves, but by the third felt remorse.

Neither version features a storm, just waves,
Exploding out of nowhere, like anger,
And then, like anger, ebbing. Researchers

Dating the boulders say they were broken
From a coral reef by a tsunami
Matching the stories’ description of waves

About 1576 CE.
So there. Something about how oceans work
Got preserved in the story packages

A good four hundred years—generations
On generations, telling each other,
Wasn’t always like this. Was ever thus.

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