Myth and poetry of the origin of life



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MYTH AND POETRY OF THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
Two Boys story for Uluru (Ayers Rock) of Ananga of Australia [from Peter Holden]

In the dreamtime, the Two Boys were hunting and traveling together from what is now South Australia. They became intrigued by the sound of the Mala Wallaby people holding an inma (a religious ceremony) around a rock hole that is now part of Kantju Gorge on the northwest face of Uluru. The Two Boys traveled toward the ceremony to see what was happening. They were uninitiated and had no knowledge of men's ceremonies. They were curious.

The Mala, meanwhile, were separating into their men's and women's camps preparing for the inma the next morning. The Mala were in a dilemma. Shortly after they arrived and began their inma, another people arrived from the west with an invitation to join their inma. The Mala had to refuse because they had previously planted a pole in the ground, and from that moment everything had become a part of their ceremony.

Now, prior to the inma, even everyday jobs, like hunting, gathering, and preparing food, collecting water, talking to people, or just waiting, had to be done in a proper way. This has been the law for men, women, and children ever since. But for the Mala to refuse would anger the people from the west.

The Mala continued their preparations. When they were not dancing, the women gathered food for the whole group. The women's camp was at Taputji, the small isolated dome on the northeast side of Uluru. One of their digging sticks can still be seen here, where it was transformed into stone. The Mala were soon interrupted by a savage black doglike creature called Kurpany. It was an evil spirit created by the insulted westerners.

Kurpany attacked and killed many Mala men, women, and children. In terror, the remaining Mala fled to the south with Kurpany chasing them. When people trek along the base of the north face of Uluru, the Anangu believe, they are surrounded by the Mala Tjukurpa.

During the Mala preparations the Two Boys began playing at the waterhole, mixing water with the surrounding earth. They piled up the mud, higher and higher, until it was the size that Uluru is today. Then they started playing on it. They sat on the top and slid down the south side of their mud pile on their bellies, dragging their fingers through the mud in long channels. The channels have since hardened into stone and now form the many gullies on the southern side of Uluru. The Two Boys' play was interrupted when Kurpany attacked and pursued the Mala.

The two boys managed to escape Kurpany's wrath. They resumed their hunting and searching for water, turning north toward Mount Conner. One Boy threw his wooden club at a hare wallaby, but the club struck the ground and made a freshwater spring. (The dream ancestors' creative power could be directed through their artifacts.) This Boy refused to tell the other where he had found the water, and the other Boy nearly died of thirst. They fought and made their way to the tabletopped Mount Conner.

Their bodies are preserved on the summit as boulders.


Kingfisher Story for Wilpena Pound of Adnamatna of Australia [from Ian Short]


Yurlu, the Kingfisher, decided to go south for a ceremony. On the way he made a big fire, a sign that he was coming. The remains of that fire is the big heap of coal still at Leigh Creek today.

As Yurlu was travelling, there were also two big Akurras (Dreamtime Serpents) going south. Yurlu continued down the valley still making smoke, leaving coal behind him. The two serpents also went on southwards and entered the Pound through Edeowie Gorge and camped at a large waterhole.

That night some people in the Pound were holding a ceremony. When they looked into the sky at the stars to see if it was time to start, the stars they saw were actually the eyes of the two Akurras.

The male Akurra told his mate to go to the south-west, while he went north-east to surround the people. When Yurlu reached Mount Abrupt he stopped and looked into the Pound. He could hear the sound of the ceremony. He threw a firestick into the air; it turned into the red star, Mars.

While this was going on, the two Akurras came up on each side of the ceremonial ground and ate up all the people except two initiates and Yurlu.

St Mary Peak is the head of the male Akurra and Beatrice Hill is the head of the female serpent, both watching the flight of the initiates. Their bodies form the two sides of the Pound.

Enki and Ninmah, from Nippur, Sumeria, ca 2000 BC [translated by N. Kramer]

In those days, in the days when heaven and earth were created; in those nights, in the nights when heaven and earth were created; in those years, in the years when the fates were determined; when the Anuna gods were born; when the goddesses were taken in marriage; when the goddesses were distributed in heaven and earth; when the goddesses ...... became pregnant and gave birth; when the gods were obliged (?) ...... their food ...... for their meals; the senior gods oversaw the work, while the minor gods were bearing the toil. The gods were digging the canals and piling up the silt in Harali. The gods, dredging the clay, began complaining about this life.

At that time, the one of great wisdom, the creator of all the senior gods, Enki lay on his bed, not waking up from his sleep, in the deep engur, in the flowing water, the place the inside of which no other god knows. The gods said, weeping: "He is the cause of the lamenting!" Namma, the primeval mother who gave birth to the senior gods, took the tears of the gods to the one who lay sleeping, to the one who did not wake up from his bed, to her son: "Are you really lying there asleep, and ...... not awake? The gods, your creatures, are smashing their ....... My son, wake up from your bed! Please apply the skill deriving from your wisdom and create a substitute (?) for the gods so that they can be freed from their toil!"

At the word of his mother Namma, Enki rose up from his bed. In Hal-an-kug, his room for pondering, he slapped his thigh in annoyance. The wise and intelligent one, the prudent, ...... of skills, the fashioner of the design of everything brought to life birth-goddesses (?). Enki reached out his arm over them and turned his attention to them. And after Enki, the fashioner of designs by himself, had pondered the matter, he said to his mother Namma: "My mother, the creature you planned will really come into existence. Impose on him the work of carrying baskets. You should knead clay from the top of the abzu; the birth-goddesses (?) will nip off the clay and you shall bring the form into existence. Let Ninmah act as your assistant; and let Ninimma, Cu-zi-ana, Ninmada, Ninbarag, Ninmug, ...... and Ninguna stand by as you give birth. My mother, after you have decreed his fate, let Ninmah impose on him the work of carrying baskets."

6 lines fragmentary

Enki ...... brought joy to their heart. He set a feast for his mother Namma and for Ninmah. All the princely birth-goddesses (?) ...... ate delicate reed (?) and bread. An, Enlil, and the lord Nudimmud roasted holy kids. All the senior gods praised him: "O lord of wide understanding, who is as wise as you? Enki, the great lord, who can equal your actions? Like a corporeal father, you are the one who has the me of deciding destinies, in fact you are the me."

Enki and Ninmah drank beer, their hearts became elated, and then Ninmah said to Enki: "Man's body can be either good or bad and whether I make a fate good or bad depends on my will."

Enki answered Ninmah: "I will counterbalance whatever fate -- good or bad -- you happen to decide." Ninmah took clay from the top of the abzu in her hand and she fashioned from it first a man who could not bend his outstretched weak hands. Enki looked at the man who could not bend his outstretched weak hands, and decreed his fate: he appointed him as a servant of the king.

Second, she fashioned one who turned back (?) the light, a man with constantly opened eyes (?). Enki looked at the one who turned back (?) the light, the man with constantly opened eyes (?), and decreed his fate allotting to it the musical arts, making him as the chief ...... in the king's presence.

Third, she fashioned one with both feet broken, one with paralysed feet. Enki looked at the one with both feet broken, the one with paralysed feet and ...... him for the work of ...... and the silversmith and .......

Fourth, she fashioned one who could not hold back his urine. Enki looked at the one who could not hold back his urine and bathed him in enchanted water and drove out the namtar demon from his body.

Fifth, she fashioned a woman who could not give birth. Enki looked at the woman who could not give birth, and decreed her fate: he made (?) her belong to the queen's household.

Sixth, she fashioned one with neither penis nor vagina on its body. Enki looked at the one with neither penis nor vagina on its body and give it the name "Nibru eunuch (?)", and decreed as its fate to stand before the king.

Ninmah threw the pinched-off clay from her hand on the ground and a great silence fell. The great lord Enki said to Ninmah: "I have decreed the fates of your creatures and given them their daily bread. Come, now I will fashion somebody for you, and you must decree the fate of the newborn one!"

Enki devised a shape with head, ...... and mouth in its middle, and said to Ninmah: "Pour ejaculated semen into a woman's womb, and the woman will give birth to the semen of her womb." Ninmah stood by for the newborn ....... and the woman brought forth ...... in the midst ....... In return (?), this was Umul: its head was afflicted, its place of ...... was afflicted, its eyes were afflicted, its neck was afflicted. It could hardly breathe, its ribs were shaky, its lungs were afflicted, its heart was afflicted, its bowels were afflicted. With its hand and its lolling head it could not not put bread into its mouth; its spine and head were dislocated. The weak hips and the shaky feet could not carry (?) it on the field -- Enki fashioned it in this way.

Enki said to Ninmah: "For your creatures I have decreed a fate, I have given them their daily bread. Now, you should decree a fate for my creature, give him his daily bread too." Ninmah looked at Umul and turned to him. She went nearer to Umul asked him questions but he could not speak. She offered him bread to eat but he could not reach out for it. He could not lie on ......., he could not ....... Standing up he could not sit down, could not lie down, he could not ...... a house, he could not eat bread. Ninmah answered Enki: "The man you have fashioned is neither alive nor dead. He cannot support himself (?)."

Enki answered Ninmah: "I decreed a fate for the first man with the weak hands, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man who turned back (?) the light, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man with broken, paralysed feet, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man who could not hold back his urine, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the woman who could not give birth, I gave her bread. I decreed the fate for the one with neither penis nor vagina on its body, I gave it bread. My sister, ......." 2 lines fragmentary

Ninmah answered Enki:

9 lines fragmentary

(Ninmah's answer continues) "You (?) entered ....... Look, you do not dwell in heaven, you do not dwell on earth, you do not come out to look at the Land. Where you do not dwell but where my house is built, your words cannot be heard. Where you do not live but where my city is built, I myself am silenced (?). My city is ruined, my house is destroyed, my child has been taken captive. I am a fugitive who has had to leave the E-kur, even I myself could not escape from your hand."

Enki replied to Ninmah: "Who could change the words that left your mouth? Remove Umul from your lap ....... Ninmah, may your work be ......, you ...... for me what is imperfect; who can oppose (?) this? The man whom I shaped ...... after you ......, let him pray! Today let my penis be praised, may your wisdom be confirmed (?)! May the enkum and ninkum ...... proclaim your glory ....... My sister, the heroic strength ....... The song ...... the writing (?) ....... The gods who heard ...... let Umul build (?) my house ......."

Ninmah could not rival the great lord Enki. Father Enki, your praise is sweet!

GENESIS 1: King James version (from Elohist or Priestley Torah ca. 400 BC)


1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

GENESIS 2 King James version (from Yahwist Torah ca. 900 BC)


1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

5 and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Hav'ilah, where there is gold;

12 and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.

13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

14 And the name of the third river is Hid'dekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphra'tes.

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.

19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him.

21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.

22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Hesiod Theogeny of archaic Greece ca 800 BC [translated by Hugh Evelyn-White]

In truth at first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundation of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros (Love), fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them. From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but of Night were born Aether and Day, whom she conceived and bore from union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bore starry Heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on every side, and to be an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods. And she brought forth long hills, graceful haunts of the goddess Nymphs who dwell amongst the glens of the hills. She bore also the fruitless deep with his raging swell, Pontus, without sweet union of love. But afterwards she lay with Heaven and bore deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire. And again, she bore the Cyclopes, overbearing in spirit, Brontes, and Steropes and stubborn-hearted Arges, who gave Zeus the thunder and made the thunderbolt: in all else they were like the gods, but one eye only was set in the midst of their foreheads. And they were surnamed Cyclopes (Orb-eyed) because one orbed eye was set in their foreheads. Strength and might and craft were in their works. And again, three other sons were born of Earth and Heaven, great and doughty beyond telling, Cottus and Briareos and Gyes, presumptuous children. From their shoulders sprang a hundred arms, not to be approached, and fifty heads grew from the shoulders upon the strong limbs of each, and irresistible was the stubborn strength that was in their great forms. For of all the children that were born of Earth and Heaven, these were the most terrible, and they were hated by their own father from the first. And he used to hide them all away in a secret place of Earth so soon as each was born, and would not suffer them to come up into the light: and Heaven rejoiced in his evil doing. But vast Earth groaned within, being straitened, and she thought a crafty and an evil wile. Forthwith she made the element of grey flint and shaped a great sickle, and told her plan to her dear sons. And she spoke, cheering them, while she was vexed in her dear heart: “My children, gotten of a sinful father, if you will obey me, we should punish the vile outrage of your father; for he first thought of doing shameful things.” So she said; but fear seized them all, and none of them uttered a word. But great Cronos the wily took courage and answered his dear mother: “Mother, I will undertake to do this deed, for I reverence not our father of evil name, for he first thought of doing shameful things.”

Nasadiya Sukta, Hindu Rigveda X.129.1-7 (ca 500 BC) [Transl. Raimundo Pannikar]

Neither Being nor non-Being existed then;

There was no sky, nor heaven, which is beyond.

What covered? Where was it and in whose shelter?

Was the water the deep abyss in which it lay?

There was no death, hence neither was anything immortal;

There was no distinction between night and day.

By its inherent force the One breathed windless;

Nothing other than that existed.

Darkness there was,

In the beginning all this was a sea without light;

That which, becoming, by the void was covered,

That One by the force of heat came into being.

Desire entered the One in the beginning,

It was the earliest seed, the product of thought.

The Sages searching in their hearts with wisdom

Found the bond of Being in non-Being.

Their ray extended light across the darkness;

But was the One below or was it above?

Creative force and fertile power was there;

Below was energy and will, above.

Who knows for certain? Who shall declare it here?

When was it born and when came the creation?

The Devas came later,

Who then knows whence it arose?

None knows when creation has arisen;

Whether He made it or did not make it,

He who surveys it in the highest heaven,

Only He knows, or maybe even He knows not!

Hindu Bhagavad Gita 9.4-10, poem no. 4144 (ca 500 BC)

My shape is unmanifest, but I

pervade the world.

All beings have their being in me,

but I do not rest in them.

See my sovereign technique:

creatures both in me and not in me.

Supporting beings, my person brings

beings to life, without living in them.

I am omnipresent as the storm wind

which resides in space.

All beings exist in me.

Remember that.

All creatures enter into my nature

at the end of an eon.

In another beginning

I send them forth again.

Establishing my own nature,

time after time I send them forth,

This host of beings, without

their will, by dint of that nature.

This activity does not

imprison me, O Fighter for Wealth!

I appear as an onlooker, detached

in the midst of this work.

Nature gives birth to all moving

and unmoving things. I supervise.

That is how the world keeps turning,

Son of Kunti!
Hindu Vishnu Purana Ch 3, ca. 500 BC [transl. Horace Hayman Wilson]

Oh best of sages, fifteen twinklings of the eye make a Kásht́há; thirty Kásht́hás, one Kalá; and thirty Kalás, one Muhúrtta 3. Thirty Muhúrttas constitute a day and night of mortals: thirty such days make a month, divided into two half-months: six months form an Ayana (the period of the sun's progress north or south of the ecliptic): and two Ayanas compose a year. The southern Ayana is a night, and the northern a day of the gods. Twelve thousand divine years, each composed of (three hundred and sixty) such days, constitute the period of the four Yugas, or ages. They are thus distributed: the Krita age has four thousand divine years; the Tretá three thousand; the Dwápara two thousand; and the Kali age one thousand: so those acquainted with antiquity have declared. The period that precedes a Yuga is called a Sandhyá, and it is of as many hundred years as there are thousands in the Yuga: and the period that follows a Yuga, termed the Sandhyánsa, is of similar duration. The interval between the Sandhyá and the Sandhyánsa is the Yuga, denominated Krita, Tretá, &c. The Krita, Tretá, Dwápara, and Kali, constitute a great age, or aggregate of four ages: a thousand such aggregates are a day of Brahmá, and fourteen Menus reign within that term. Hear the division of time which they measure 4. Seven Rishis, certain (secondary) divinities, Indra, Manu, and the kings his sons, are created and perish at one period 5; and the interval, called a Manwantara, is equal to seventy-one times the number of years contained in the four Yugas, with some additional years: this is the duration of the Manu, the (attendant) divinities, and the rest, which is equal to 852.000 divine years, or to 306.720.000 years of mortals, independent of the additional period 6. Fourteen times this period constitutes a Bráhma day, that is, a day of Brahmá; the term (Bráhma) being the derivative form. At the end of this day a dissolution of the universe occurs, when all the three worlds, earth, and the regions of space, are consumed with fire. The dwellers of Maharloka (the region inhabited by the saints who survive the world), distressed by the heat, repair then to Janaloka (the region of holy men after their decease). When the-three worlds are but one mighty ocean, Brahmá, who is one with Náráyańa, satiate with the demolition of the universe, sleeps upon his serpent-bed--contemplated, the lotus born, by the ascetic inhabitants of the Janaloka--for a night of equal duration with his day; at the close of which he creates anew. Of such days and nights is a year of Brahmá composed; and a hundred such years constitute his whole life 7. One Parárddha 8, or half his existence, has expired, terminating with the Mahá Kalpa 9 called Pádma. The Kalpa (or day of Brahmá) termed Váráha is the first of the second period of Brahmá's existence.


The Rubaiyat LXIII. by Omar Khayyam (1021-1122) [transl. Edward FitzGerald]

With Earth's first clay they did the last man knead,

And then of the last harvest sow'd the seed:

Yea, the first morning of creation wrote

What the last dawn of reckoning shall read.
The Clod and the Pebble by William Blake 1757-1827

'Love seeketh not itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care,

But for another gives its ease,

And builds a heaven in hell's despair.'

So sung a little clod of clay,

Trodden with the cattle's feet;

But a pebble of the brook

Warbled out these meters meet:

'Love seeketh only self to please,

To bind another to its delight,

Joys in another's loss of ease,

And builds a hell in heaven's despite.'

The Microbe by Hilaire Belloc (1870-1943)


The Microbe is so very small

You cannot make him out at all,

But many sanguine people hope

To see him through a microscope.

His jointed tongue that lies beneath

A hundred curious rows of teeth;

His seven tufted tails with lots

Of lovely pink and purple spots,

On each of which a pattern stands,

Composed of forty separate bands;

His eyebrows of a tender green;

All these have never yet been seen--

But Scientists, who ought to know,

Assure us that they must be so....

Oh! let us never, never doubt

What nobody is sure about!

HEAVEN by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,

Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)

Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,

Each secret fishy hope or fear.

Fish say, they have their stream and pond;

But is there anything beyond?

This life cannot be all, they swear,

For how unpleasant, if it were!

One may not doubt that, somehow, good

Shall come of water and of mud;

And, sure, the reverent eye must see

A purpose in liquidity.

We darkly know, by faith we cry,

The future is not wholly dry.

Mud unto mud! -- death eddies near --

Not here the appointed end, not here!

But somewhere, beyond space and time.

Is wetter water, slimier slime!

And there (they trust) there swimmeth One

Who swam ere rivers were begun,

Immense, of fishy form and mind,

Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;

And under that Almighty Fin,

The littlest fish may enter in.

Oh! never fly conceals a hook,

Fish say, in the eternal brook,

But more than mundane weeds are there,

And mud, celestially fair;

Fat caterpillars drift around,

And paradisal grubs are found;

Unfading moths, immortal flies,

And the worm that never dies.

And in that heaven of all their wish,



There shall be no more land, say fish.



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