Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Science and Poetry

I first read this poem in a book of molecular biology protocols (from the second edition of Maniatis in case anyone is interested). I liked it very much then and copied it into my lab note book.

Recently, I wanted a poem to go along with some DNA related talk that I was giving and I thought of this. Many Google searches were fruitless. Therefore I went back to my attic, fished out all my books and searched till I did.

On reading it after all these years, I found that I still enjoy it very much. As a scientist, I appreciate the accuracy of the poem. As a poet, I appreciate the word arrangement that feels as if it is going round and round forever which truly speaking DNA is doing.

“Cell DNA”

I am the singular
in free fall
I and my doubles
carry it all:

Life’s slim volume
spirally bound
It’s what I’m about,
it’s what I’m around.

Presence and hungers
imbue a sap mote
with the world as they spin it
I teach it by rote

buts its every command
was once a miscue
that something rose to,
Presence and freedom

rewording, re-beading
strains on a strand
making I and I more different
than we could stand

-Les Murray.

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