Monday, July 9, 2012

An Elegy for Lonesome George

I’ve heard it said often that no man’s an island,
but how could a tortoise then be?
Had you grown a shell around your heart,
in that long lonely century
when you were yourself the universal:
sheer particularity?

And so did the philosophers think you to death;
made an Idea, a Form, an Explanation?
Did you know you were a great existentialist?
A Darwinian case-demonstration?
The postmodernist’s hard deconstruction?
Or tragic Hegelian negation?

“Here at last is a creature who defines his own essence!”
Was all that freedom too great of a load?
“Here’s a proof of adaptive genetic selection!”
But what good, at the end of the road,
is all that evolution-struggled-for “progress”
if extinction is all you’re bestowed?

You, the vessel for all of those vain stillborn dreams,
like some sterile tortoise eggs given late birth,
We can only inquire of your Galapagan sorrows:
without friends, just what is pain worth?
And will there be, finally, any kind of salvation
for the very last man left on earth?

1 comment:

Nominally Catholic said...

Funny, but most European existentialists were socialites. The "friend-less" argument is non-directional. It's more of an anti-intellectual prejudice.