Food of the Cosmos

It's a mistake, is it not,
to take apart a barometer
and examine its innards
to find out how it creates
atmospheric pressure.
All those guts do is measure
and record the weight
from outside itself.
It is dull. It is uncreative.

The lungs do not create
the oxygen. They extract
that from air. The air is first.
The lungs work to transform
air to food, they feed the blood.
Lungs do very good work.

The stomach does not devise
nourishment. It take that
from food. The food is first.
The stomach is quite serious.
It is a drone. But it overhauls
the food inside to make life.

Is it not, therefore, a mistake
to dissect a brain and submit
its gray soup to find out how
it makes mind of nothing?
All those axions and dendrites
do is to breathe and eat
the air and food of a living
cosmos. They are sturdy
laborers, lucky to create insight
and the magnificence of genius
that is the Grace of the Living.

The great wonder of it all is this:
if the lungs create breath from air;
if the eye records sight out of light;
if the stomach makes vitality of food:
What is the air or light or food
(all of these I know) of the cosmos
out of which the brain makes
our life, our mind, our spirit?

Our grosser organs create
the known from knowns.
But the brain encounters
an awful mystery that makes
a miracle of the unknown,
that lets us write these words.

I do not know the mystery that
does this. It is Living. Or like
the Living. Or like nothing
we know. And to think on it is
to stand on a body's beach in awe
and terror of invisible oceans
so large and dangerous as to excite
fear, gratitude, and amazement.
This makes of sublimity palaces
once reserved only for gods.

Steven Fortney
June, 1998

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