Poetry | All That Is

All That Is

© 2017, 2018 Vernon Miles Kerr

I have concluded, or nearly so,

That Intelligent design is in the Universe,

Or Universes, stacked one upon another

In some frequency-variant set of substrates

Of reality—ad infinitum, in profundis.

Not because of that random-seeming

Toss of thousands of millions of Galaxies

Within the limits of our vision,

But because of the in-our-face, daily,

Confronting of Earth’s Panoply of Life,

Animal and Vegetable—micro’ to macroscopic:

The fractal whorl in a cauliflower head,

Spirals in spirals, if you’ll look.

The minutes-quick, brown engulfment

Of a drop of honey placed as a test

On my countertop by thousands of ants,

Persistent, swarming, intruding, damned ants.

Happy in summer to ruin our chairs

Under the shade of our crepe-myrtle trees

With dripping sap from their vertically-placed

Aphid dairy-herd—

In winter,

Their little scouts range across our

Private domestic nooks and surfaces,

Testing, tasting and twiddling antennae.

They must have some spooky communications channel

Back to the anthill, to so quickly muster

A platoon of fellow forager-soldiers

To my canny dollop of amber sweetness.

Or do they run back to tell their fellows

The honey-news in language formed

From pheromones set on the air?

Whatever the answer, it seems beyond

A few billion years of random evolution—

As does the perfect function of our eyes,

Which also worked fine in the sockets of dinosaurs.

I squash one of the miniscule interlopers in hatred,

Tinged with curiosity, perhaps begrudging-admiration.

Somewhere in the wreckage of that tiny machine

Is a computer, with built-in software

Wired to the organs of locomotion,

And the sensors of light, touch and smell.

The twisted, broken legs had earlier

Carried it along in  fluid stride.

I’ve cut the poor thing off in mid sip.

The others scatter in alarm,

Some stream angrily up my arm.

I brush them off into tangles of chitin.

This is only one battle won in a war

Between us and them, a war that has raged

Since we left the caves—or even before.

As Burns observed the spider and wondered,

Maybe we watched this gnat-sized species

Stream up and down our own cave walls,

Concluding—Purpose—or nearly so.