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Sunday, May 19, 2019


by Pepper Trail

A tangled bank, near Sandwalk, Charles Darwin’s walking path near his home at Downe House. —Image by GrrlScientist via Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.

“Around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.” —The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, May 6, 2019

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank,
clothed with many plants of many kinds,
with birds singing in the bushes,
with various insects flitting about,
and with worms crawling through the damp earth,                                                      
and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms
have all been produced by laws acting around us,
and that from so simple a beginning endless forms,
most beautiful and most wonderful,
have been, and are being evolved.
          —Charles Darwin, the final paragraph of The Origin of Species, 1859

It is interesting to contempl te  t ngled b nk,                              
clothed with m ny pl nts of m ny kinds,                                      
w th b rds s ng ng  n the bushes,                                                  
w th v r us  nscts fl tt ng bout,                                                                              
nd w th w rms cr wl ng thr ugh the d mp e rth,                        
nd t  reflect th t these elb rtely c nstructed fr ms,                                
h ve  ll been pr d ced by l ws  cting  r nd  s,                                            
nd th t fr m s  s mplbeg nn ng endless f rms                          
m st  b   t fl  nd m st w nd rf l                                                      
h v   b   n,nd   r   bng   v lv d.          

Pepper Trail is a poet and naturalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His poetry has appeared in Rattle, Atlanta Review, Spillway, Kyoto Journal, Cascadia Review, and other publications, and has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards. His collection Cascade-Siskiyou was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.