Cosmos

Earth seen from Apollow

In a void without a name, 
when there was no space or time; 
in a place that was nowhere, 
and without words or feats divine; 

faster than a finger snap 
—infinitely small it formed 
and hotter than a million hells—
out of nothing, cosmos was born. 

Long before a second passed 
and faster than the speed of light, 
the infant cosmos stretched and cooled—
homogenous and dark as night. 

In half a million years, at last 
some hydrogen nuclei 
pressed together into suns 
that split the darkness with their light. 

Slower now and larger growing, 
the cosmos filled its space with stars. 
A supernova bursts through space—
ten billion suns of brightness flash! 

A billion years of time crawls by, 
and several billion more before
a bit of cooler mass congeals 
to form a planet, then millions more. 

One little ball is gifted with 
a film of gases—liquid too—
just right for tiny bits of life 
that form a strange organic brew. 

The soup of simple cells lives on 
for eons on the greenish ball, 
warmed daily by its little sun, 
as if—of life—that would be all. 

But, slowly now, some cells combine 
—in fungi, algae, varied plants; 
then animals of sea and land 
—fish and crabs and frogs and ants. 

Muscles, bone and brains evolve 
in various beasts across the earth. 
Killing, dying, changing, thriving— 
a million species have their birth. 

Great cold-blooded beasts reach up 
and munch the highest leaves, 
while sister species with huge jaws, 
prey on flesh within their reach. 

Then—strangely small, with paws and fur—
warm-fleshed mammals hide below. 
They suckle and protect their young 
and live through winter ice and cold. 

Life grows more and more complex 
and—stranger still—some four-legged beasts 
precariously rise on two legs 
to grasp at what is out of reach. 

Then from the wordless universe 
comes one conscious of the whole: 
of the million forms of life 
one life will choose its role. 

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