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:iconagahnim: More from Agahnim


Submitted on
September 27, 2004
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5 (who?)
With winter comes the death for which its cold is known,
But joining it are fragile beings of its own,
Containing each a pattern found it in alone.
Could such perfection ever on its own arise?
Or must the detailed harmony that each supplies
Be fashioned by a master craftsman in the skies?

But no such craftsman can be found within their storm,
For only simple laws to which its clouds conform
Are seen to cut the facets of their product’s form.
In place of architect is found this sightless force
That every peerless pattern follows in its course,
With nothing but the laws of nature as their source.

And what of this complexity?  Is not it found
That chaos cannot generate a form so sound?
And in the squall where ragged wind and cloud abound,
Is not the ruling power one of anarchy?
Would not a perfect product of such forces be
In violation to the law of entropy?

Within the tempest’s hidden world of physic laws,
An order that exists in freezes and in thaws
Is sacrificed to cause what seems without a cause.
As with the sun, where tiny in the flaming void
Identities are broken, and their loss employed,
Such order can be found within a way destroyed.

To see that from decay must every beauty grow,
That all the purest lilies must have graves below,
Brings certain dark enlightenment, if one must know.
If so it is, what solace would we ever find?
From beauty brought about by no designer’s mind,
But in its place a rotting void that lies behind?

About the source of beauty, nothing can be said.
A thing cannot, when taken from an order dead,
By wishing be produced by something else instead.
But laws of nature show a glory all their own,
With order sprung from sources seen by them alone.
What governor it is, or if, is never known.
It's finally finished. Everything about this poem--the ideas behind it, the hexagonal structure, and the nested metaphors--represent the most work I've put into any single piece of writing since The Native. If you're wondering why I'm submitting a poem about snow in September, it's because I first started working on this piece in February.

Normally for this sort of thing I'd be saying something like "You'd better like it", but this poem will probably go against enough people's beliefs that I don't think that's a very reasonable thing to ask. But I'd appreciate it if you to at least put some thought into it when you read it, and try to understand what it's an analogy for and why I structured it the way I did.
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Da-Lizzard Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
A wonderful poem, I must admit. The metaphor makes perfect sense. But why only humans, I ask. That is one of the things that bothers me most about creationists and their assumption that humanity is perfection, God's magnum opus. Humans are not perfect. We have amazing abilities in cognitive thought, reasoning and creativity, but why can't every form of life be beautiful? Humans cannot be perfection, they still must eat living organisms for survival, they still get sick, they still die. These Laws of Nature apply to everyone in the domain of Nature, no matter how desperately we try and conquer it. Other animals are self aware like us. Some other animals possess rudiments of culture. And in any complex organism, albeit animal, plant, fungi, even protozoa, the processes and structures which have evolved for these creatures are so... mind numbingly complex. They are all beautiful in their own right. Not just humans. Humans are not above the natural world. They are only a part of it.
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2010  Professional General Artist
I haven't read this in ages, but reading through it again just now gave me a thought:

Have you considered including this poem in our evolution book? It is certainly very relevant to the content, and many books have a powerful poem or quote of some kind on one of the opening pages before the actual content of the book. It seems to me that something like this would be really excellent, especially since it would sort of "frame" the logical, scientific content of the book with something that has more emotion and beauty.

Additionally, it would be nice to see such a technically brilliant piece of poetry get more recognition. Two faves? Ridiculous.

Three now.

I'm bringing this up here because I'm not sure I'll remember to tell you later in real life. =P
ZellaL Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2008
Ah! That poem is genius! Man, absolutely gorgeous...I guess it helps that I agree so strongly, but even if I didn't, it's amazing. "...that all the purest lilies must have graves below"...Awesome! I wish there were more poets like this at my school; the poems we get submitted to the annual magazine never have nearly as much meaning, metaphor, opinion, reason, meter, rhyme, or any of the critical elements of a poem as does this. Rock ON!
Agahnim Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2008

Did you figure out the reason why it’s structured the way it is—six stanzas of six lines each, in iambic hexameter?
ZellaL Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2008
Agahnim Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2008
The number of the Beast? No, that doesn’t have anything to do with the topic of this poem.

It’s because the structure of the poem is intended to mimic the structure of a snowflake.
ZellaL Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2008
Huh...and do snowflakes naturally have six prongs, or something? I remember I saw something in Nat Geo about how there are many different types of snowflakes depending on the conditions. Here in Cali we don't get snow, so I don't know that much about it. ^^
Agahnim Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2008
Snowflakes don’t always have "prongs", but they always contain six iterations of the same pattern. this website shows a few examples. In some of them the hexagonal shape is so elongated that it just looks like a column, but it still always has six sides.

Do you understand what the poem is an analogy for? I’ve been curious how clear that will be to anyone who isn’t already familiar with what I’ve said about this topic.
ZellaL Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2008
Well, here's what I gathered:
One thing my teacher told me about snowflakes is that no two are alike; much like humans. Humans are beautifully crafted, so it's natural that some would think there must be an intelligent designer. But we've found no designer hiding in the clouds, we've only got the laws of nature. The sky and temperature and moisture forms snow, not God. That part seems pretty clear to me.
Then it goes on to say how things are destroyed seemingly without meaning. It doesn't hint at "It's ok, we all go to heaven," but instead "it's ok, there's the circle of life that goes on and on, so through death we have life."

"About the source of beauty, nothing can be said.
A thing cannot, when taken from an order dead,
By wishing be produced by something else instead." = people die. Saying that they came from God will never change that.

But nature has beauty, so at this point there's no reason we should be shying from it and trying to pretend there's a supernatural element to nature. Supernatural nature's an oxymoron anyway. So, we should be able to adore what we really have instead of trying to trivialize that and worship something that never has and never will even show its existence.
Agahnim Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2008
You’re right about all of it except for one part. This poem refers to a couple of creationist arguments about why life couldn’t have come into existence without the involvement of a god, one of which is that according to the principle of entropy the amount of order in the universe will gradually decrease over time, and that life arising from non-living materials supposedly violates that idea. But this principle only applies to any system where all of its parts are being considered, so if you’re going to apply it to snowflakes, you have to also consider the decrease of order happening in clouds that counterbalances the increase in order when snowflakes form. Likewise, the increase in order on earth resulting from evolution has only been possible because there’s a huge decrease of order happening as a result of nuclear fusion in the sun, which is constantly providing earth with energy. That’s what the fourth stanza is referring to.

A lot of people seem to find this idea depressing; that the universe is generally headed towards disorder, and order can only arise in parts of it as a result of being destroyed elsewhere. But wanting this to be different can’t change it, and the structure of the universe can still be appreciated for what it is. Some people, such as me, understand the way the laws of the universe work but still think there’s a God responsible for them.
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