Guest poem sent in by Sachin
(Poem #1250) Brave World
But what about the courage of the cancer cell that breaks out from the crowd it has belonged to all its life like a housewife erupting from her line at the grocery store because she just can't stand the sameness anymore? What about the virus that arrives in town like a traveler from somewhere faraway with suitcases in hand, who only wants a place to stay, a chance to get ahead in the land of opportunity, but who smells bad, talks funny, and reproduces fast? What about the microbe that hurls its tiny boat straight into the rushing metabolic tide, no less cunning and intrepid than Odysseus; that gambles all to found a city on an unknown shore? What about their bill of rights, their access to a full-scale, first-class destiny? their chance to realize maximum potential?-which, sure, will come at the expense of someone else, someone who, from a certain point of view, is a secondary character, whose weeping is almost too far off to hear, a noise among the noises coming from the shadows of any brave new world.
The previous poem [Poem #1236] prompted me to look up Tony Hoagland on the net and I came across this gem of a poem. This poem works for me on various levels. At the most superficial level, its an interesting look at circumstances from the other person's point of view. It brings up the stark fact that life is a zero sum game and for someone to win, somebody else necessarily has to lose. The last two paragraphs seemed especially relevant in the context of the current ['recent' now - ed] Gulf war. The innocent civilians who lost life and limb are but ".. a secondary character, whose weeping is almost too far off to hear, a noise among the noises coming from the shadows of any brave new world." Sachin [Martin adds] Tangentially, I was reminded of the following quote: Popular mythology to the contrary, that niche [large terrestrial life forms] has always been on the outer edge of existence. It's amazing, really, how the large size of humans prejudices our view of life. To this day, biologists talk of mammals dominating the earth. That's news to bacteria! Not to mention insects and worms. We, and all our bulky mammal relatives, are just rare clouds drifting over the teeming landscape of life. So were the dinosaurs. It reminds me of J. B. S. Haldane's quip, when he was asked what his life's study of biology indicated about God. "He has an inordinate fondness for beetles." -- Eric Flint, "Mother of Demons" (available at [broken link] http://www.baen.com/library/)