emergings :: stephen dunn
Let’s say men and women begin
as slime, and some of us crawl
out of the sea, and fall into circumstance
fraught with danger, and cannot survive,
but do, slithering into a cave
where the stories evolve, first as pictures
on the walls, then as grunts that turn
into something like words. For years,
though, biology reigns. Our bodies go
this way or that. Our culinary wisdom
is to eat more than get eaten.
Our good sense is to follow a guess.
Let’s say sometimes the accidental
is the beginning of possibility.
We discover that when we’re most afraid,
when catastrophe looms, opportunities abound.
We learn the power of slings and stones.
And the best storyteller emerges
from all of those wishing to explain.
Let’s say he knows we need someone
to admire, and says a hero is a person
who blunders into an open cave,
and that it takes courage to blunder.
Let’s say he also says something about
the beauty of slime. His story lives
for a while because of its memorable turns,
its strange moral fervor, while the others’—
merely accurate and true—disappear.