Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Great Library

The Great Library
Betsy McKenzie

Can it be that each strand of DNA
Of every creature on this Earth
Is a great library recording
The history of life itself?
That chain of CTGA spells out
Each creature’s own colors and twitches,
Its speeds and natures – that we knew.
But those long stretches in the chain,
That so long we called “junk DNA,”
We learn now are switches that master
When the working parts turn on and off.
Those switches that master timing,
So important to not growing
An eye in one’s foot,
Reflect our evolutionary history.
They are our personal recipe book,
And our species’ genealogy –
Back and back through time.
How else would that growing fetus
Metamorphose from unused, fishy gills
To stubby proto-amphibian,
And on, at last to tiny human?
How marvelous the Great Librarian
Who devised this catalog!

March 11, 2006


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