earth’s youngest apes

There’s potentially poetry in everything, if you look with a suitably piercing gaze.


(I’ve got nothing.)

Oddly enough, the following quote comes from the introduction of a book I am reading, about ancient Britain.

As far as we know, we human beings of planet Earth are the first and only animals to have felt the unbearable weight of infinity, the first to remember and to mourn. At the moment of our awakening as a species Earth – even the universe itself – awoke too. The clock started ticking and someone, somewhere, counted one day more . . . one day less.

Memory . . . remembering . . . history . . . these are uniquely human. We are Earth’s youngest apes – feeble, without claws or fangs, with neither speed nor strength, naked of feather or fur – and yet beneath thin caps of bone we are possessed of minds that reach backwards and forwards in time. It is a predicament. In all the universe we alone are troubled by when.

Neil Oliver

It can also be expressed thus …


Gotta love Calvin and Hobbes.

I find being insignificant immensely comfortable. I used to hate it and feel uncomfortable near the sea, because it made me feel small. Then one day 20ish years ago, I sort of shocked myself into an epiphany. After that, I loved the sea with all my heart – and the vastness of the sky too. I like the context of it now, it’s reassuring.

And now, a poem.

by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Pain gnaws into man,
lacerating with its claws.
It’s deposited like salt
somewhere between the vertebrae.

Shout something to the crowd?
That’s a lot of respect for cattle.
Confess to a priest?
Man doesn’t believe in God.

Confess to the wife?
A pain inscrutable for her.
Confess to the country?
That’s so immense it terrifies.

And the psychiatrist arrives
with a musketeer beard,
warmly phlegmatic,
faintly smelling of vodka.

And though you tear your hair-
he will listen for two hours
to your woes and vexations,
and all for two bills.

Afterward he goes on foot
through grimy lanes,
and under his tongue lays
a tranquilizer.

There’s a trick to attentiveness:
not the least merit in it,
and he himself longs for a fellow
psychiatrist-a friend for hire.

Translated by Albert C. Todd

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