Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

(and beginning—for G)

From random junctures in primeval winds

a billion random patterns form—until

an accidental spiral sequence finds

that it can make itself again, and fill

the world with dittoed offspring.  Yet it will

occasionally not breed true.  Now strife:

the different dittoes must compete for life.

Another billion random changes: all

—or almost all—are duds.  Nevertheless

ten thousand different species rise and fall

and rise again.  Great populations press

against their boundaries.  The vital stress

expresses change.  Some variant has found

how good sex is—to mix the genes around.

The plants, the fish, the dinosaurs, the apes

advance across the generations.  Each

sentient being touches and reshapes

the world around her, far as she can reach.

Who is this now, who dares me eat a peach?

Time’s warring chariots can clatter by—

we have the earth, the water and the sky.