WORLD HISTORY

Most histories begin with the story of civilization. Before civilization was prehistory. What we know about prehistoric times is limited. But we know it covered a lot of time. If we were to compose a history book with prehistory the prologue, and if the book were done chronologically and according to scale, the history section might occupy the last hundred pages. The prologue would precede it for thousands of pages, most of them blank.

 HISTORIC TIMES – BEFORE AND AFTER 
                                (Mike Cohen – Dec 2020)

The success story of the dinosaurs
was not written. There was no one,
in prehistoric times, to write it.
For the time being, we are here;
the dinosaurs are gone.

We have had dominion now
for about 10 millennia.
The dinosaurs, long extinct,
held their dominion
for 160 millennia.
It took the unlikely tragedy
of a wayward asteroid to curtail their reign.
One way or another, they are gone.

We have dominion now.
But compared to the dinosaurs,
our dominion is fragile –
soon to be short-lived.

Fortunately, the story of our failure
will not be written. There will be no one,
in post-historic times, to write it.

DEAD TO RIGHTS

I confess to have written some dreadful poems.
I’ve abused innocent words –
kidnaped them, held them against their will –
captive, under deplorable conditions,
to suffer in horrible poems.

And I might have gotten away with it
if not for the vanity that compelled me
to incriminate myself
as I do now…

— Mike Cohen

BAD ODE TO A GOOD EGG

This video contains poultry errors (not paltry)…

Sometimes further research reveals contradictions to previous research, and revision becomes necessary. This happened to a poem I considered complete and celebrated with a video. Some of the poem’s assumptions were flawed.

I had a longstanding false impression that if an egg-yolk has a blood, the egg was fertilized. This is not necessarily so. The original ODE TO A GOOD EGG also assumed that egg-candling can be done to separate eggs to be hatched from those to be sold to be eaten as eggs. It seems this determination is made ahead of time. Eggs to be hatched are incubated for a few days then candled to check that the embryo is developing properly. Eggs to be sold as grocery eggs are candled for grading.

In light of all this, I have revised the poem.

 

ODE TO A GOOD EGG

You’ve never been outside
the shell of yourself.
A dim glint of candle flame
was dawn for you, and dusk.

If a rooster had been given his way
to produce a certain murkiness within,
you could have been warmed to life
and pecked through this shell of yourself.

Alas, this is to be
your cold cold home
neighbored by eleven brethren,
But the good news is
there may still be
a sunny side to your future.

– Mike Cohen (2017 poem revised 2020)

 

I don’t now if the poem is improved poetically. But it is more accurate, albeit not impeccable.

The Crime of Poetic Analysis

            THE AUTOPSY

A mysterious beauty, the poem…

Suspicious, curious, fascinated,

we do what we must

to understand. But

analysis of beauty is not beautiful

There is scraping, cutting, and digging.

When whole, it is too hard to grasp.

The urge to take it to hand is too strong to resist.

We must insist. Must scrape, cut, dig

to make it comprehensible.

When at last we’ve seen enough

to satisfy our suspicion and curiosity,

we understand how grand a thing it was intact,

how terrible a thing we’ve done: The autopsy.

Sorry. We should at least have waited

until after it was dead.