Given Time

 

by Paul Georgiou

That out of nothing something comes

belies the maths of other sums,

suggesting nought, far less than small,

amounts to something after all.

 

If we accept what’s here is here,

though what is here remains unclear,

how, out of all this inert splurge,

could what we know as ‘life’ emerge?

 

Yet odder still, we have to tell

how from a single living cell

chance - random, purposeless and blind -

knocked out the template of the mind.

 

A simple message now is taught -

from nought through dust and cell to thought.

From slime to Mozart in his prime

is just what happens, given time.

 

It’s really difficult to see

how all this fits with entropy.

I sometimes even need to query

‘survival of the fittest’ theory.

 

‘O flightless, feathered reptile, strive

for aeons just to stay alive,

not knowing those long finger things

will in the end support your wings.’

 

OK.  No quibbling.  Here we find

the stuff of matter, life and mind,

unplanned, unwanted, undesigned.

 

Yet here’s a thought on which to muse,

a question reason can’t refuse -

how is it more from less ensues?

 

At least please try to tell me why

life should exist and multiply.

Why should a virus of no use

commit itself to reproduce?

 

Why should a single cell decide

its role in life was to divide;

and then combine for all its worth

to promulgate all life on earth?

 

“That’s just the way it is, my friend”

is not an answer I’d defend.

Is it not really rather odd

to favour chance instead of God?

You call all God-believers fools

but they at least explain the rules.

 

“What rules?” you ask in feigned surprise.

The rules that govern seas and skies

and time and space and all we know -

whence came the rules that make it so?

 

“You really do not understand:

the rules inhere – they are not planned.

much less bestowed by a creator,

a notion that occurred much later.

 

“It’s simple really, evolution

affords a rational solution;

Evolution gives a stir

and makes things better than they were.”

 

That’s no more cogent, I’d suggest,

than simply saying ‘God knows best’.

Indeed, apart from change of name,

it’s saying very much the same.

 

I’m having trouble I confess

with this idea of more from less.

It will be seen as rather tragic

if science starts to sound like magic.

 

And when you say the rules “inhere”

I have no doubt you are sincere;

You sound as though you’re sure you’re sure

but what you mean remains obscure.

 

Are you suggesting from the start

the rules that govern all formed part

of some primeval churning drum

of hydrogen and helium.

It’s not my nature to deride

but where did all the rules reside?

 

Nor is it I’m so keen on God

(He’s often seemed an evil sod)

but if you wish to steal his glory

you need a more compelling story.

 

The God in whom the faithful trust

turns every devotee to dust;

you need to tell me, if you can,

what magic turned dust into man. 

 

 

Copyright: Paul Georgiou December 2006

IClick here to buy Beyond the Breaking of the Stone,

a collection of poems by Paul Georgiou

Click here to buy Beyond the Breaking of the Stone,

a collection of poems by Paul Georgiou