No God would make a world in such poor taste,
scoffed Darwin, thinking of blind nature’s waste,
of creatures duplicate, ungainly, vile:
too many mollusks, slime without soul or style.
Better to hope the blood-lust brutes displayed
allowed the strong to shine like hammered blades,
that pyramid of dead led up to man.
The worst pain is the one without a plan.
Rather amoral pattern, godless law,
than thoughtless lion’s rank and hollow maw,
a meaningless decease, like Darwin’s daughter,
ill, dying young. His theory made this slaughter
proof-text of pain, her childhood sacrifice
near swallowed up in what is symbolized:
no Jesus healing with miraculous kiss,
just laws reliable and pitiless,
a world with no grace and no randomness.
Patterns in beasts’ acts are the sole witness
to a design by irony inspired:
when scientists mapped how the neurons fired
in the cortex of the brain when learning,
on-screen a melody was coldly burning.
Whether the deed that’s learned is right or wrong,
each synapse pattern plays an (unsigned) song.

Articles by Jendi Reiter

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