Original Soup Of Life Poem by Denis Mair

Original Soup Of Life

Rating: 4.8

Tell me, how can six feet of DNA get wound up inside a nucleus that is measured in microns?

How can so much thread get unspooled without tangling? And how does it get wound up again like a hawser?

How does DNA in a chromosome get so packed into coils and supercoils that it becomes like a big biocrystal?

When the cell needs a certain segment of coding, how does the double helix unzip to the right place?

Before the cell divides, the DNA must be copied. How can the helix possibly unwind at 100 rpm during the duplication?

When the cell is ready to divide, what are those filaments that pull the chromosomes toward the middle and line them up in pairs?

How can the paired chromosomes engage in spontaneous slice-and-exchange between corresponding segments? This shuffles the deck and breaks up gene clusters that might behave toxicly toward their analogues.

Don't believe the common saying that "DNA is an intelligent molecule, " or that it has higher information density than any other matter.

DNA is a totally passive medium for code; it is just a layabout stretched out in the nucleus of a cell!

But there is a matrix that sustains all cellular structures; it breaks them down as needed on the way to other stages.

Behind the rigid fact there is a dance which is never confined to this moment.

The lineup of nucleotides only makes sense in a whirlpool of chain reactions. The template needs an enzyme cascade to make a protein.

There is a matrix, at once MATER and MAGISTER, capable of reading DNA, transcribing DNA, and utilizing DNA.

In a prearranged reaction sequence she releases droplets of lactic acid at just the right places,

So contractile fibers will tighten and march chromosomes into paired formation.

And this ability to pull with actin fibers is an invention which is writ large in a muscle cell.

All this is performed by protoplasm, in a state which is basically fluid,

So the fluidity of this matrix is more complex than fixed coding could ever be.

The breadth of its complexity lies in its feedback cycles interlocking in all directions out to the horizons of its possibility space;

The depth of its complexity is the irreversible direction of its energy-state conversions going down through time.

The living soup has tiers of relationality on which the segments of structural coding depend;

Only living, liquid stuff knows the nesting levels by which code can be applied to code.

Here in the world of human concerns, we also feel that purely abstract information is of little use.

A library is not intelligent; only scholars who read books are intelligent.

Scholars who read books are not intelligent; only someone who sends others spinning in circles is intelligent,

For instance, people who wield power: they don't set much store by pure information.

And what about a woman? Her way of sending a person spinning seems to come from far away,

And she herself may be mystified.

Here in the human world we have another kind of person: on one hand he likes to dig out a little pure information;

On the other hand, he likes to send people spinning in circles, but as for which of these he will choose,

His mental workings are often in a fluid state.

He's trying to get a handle on just how complex his own mind could be,

So he can't help staging collisions with other people,

Which makes it hard for a contemplative person to focus while digging out pure information.

So along comes this trouble-stirrer, and he brings a little fluidity to the social mix,

But that could be for the good, because if we can ever really focus our minds while peering through all the turmoil,

As if "viewing flowers through mist"...we can dig up even deeper information.

The problem is, where can we go to let ourselves focus our minds?

If our single corner is too small, the context for understanding life will be insufficiently complex.

I wonder if we can dig out some kind of insight from the substrate of life?

Cascading cycles pour into interlock; fragile combinations are tenacious in their nooks; homeostatic states whirl in a fluid succession.

Relational space is a ferment of currents; everything is a precursor to something else; bonding agents leaven the staff of life; Time-the-Ruminant will have plenty to chew on.

Inward-blooming flowers make the mesh ever deeper; momentary states only serve to fertilize the process;

The outer bloom is just an epiphyte, only possible because of inner congelation.

Qian the Creative can only arise from Kun the Receptive;

Growth is a symphony written out of sight, a creation of micro-ecology!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Topic(s) of this poem: biology
I used to be a biology major.

Here is a rough Chinese translation done by a friend:


為甚麼半公尺長的DNA可以捲入直徑幾微米的细 胞核內?
又怎麼可能回到平時的長線狀 態?
為甚麼D NA的雙螺旋體會按一分鐘100轉的速度解開而進行複製?
當細胞要分裂時,甚麼東西把染色體拉到 中間,排成雙對?
不要相信常 言道「DNA是智能的分子」,是「信息量最大的物質現象」。
DNA是一個完全被動的載體,是躺在 細胞核中的窩囊廢!
在死板 的事實背後,有一個旋轉的舞蹈,不限於此時此刻,
信息基墊的排列祇能在酵素反應圈的漩渦中起作用 ,
有一個能夠閱讀DNA,轉寫DN A,利用DNA的母體,
使伸縮蛋白纖維依序拉動染 色體的排行進行曲,
所以說這個母體 的複雜,不是DNA能跟她相比的
她複雜性的 縱深,是能量轉換步驟不可逆轉的貫串性。

我們在人間也覺得,純粹 的抽象信息沒甚麼用處。
讀書人不聰明,只有使讀書人 團團轉的人才叫聰明。
她使人團團轉的本領好 像來自很遠的地方
我們在人間還有一種人,一方面喜歡琢磨一點信 息,
使另一種人很難集 中精神,來琢磨一套抽象的信息。
這 樣也很好,因為只要我們真的能集中精神,
環扣的瀑布形成均衡的靜態,微環境維護著脆弱的 組合,
前驅者互滲,濃汁薰釀,精緻的腐爛 育出韌性。
外部的萌發是內部凝合的幻 化; 乾只能從坤中升起,
Susan Williams 01 September 2016

I am going to have to read this one again and again. There is much in this one that is beyond my area of education. I do know one thing.... as I read about that miraculous complex thing called DNA, I kept thinking about the sea as the origin of life theory. I do not think something this complex and intricate and specific could be put together randomly, accidentally, mindlessly. And this is just one factor of what makes up an organism. You may not agree with me at all. That's okay- -I still listen to you and feel the magic of the knowledge you share. Definitely a poem to reread and reread and reread and enjoy! Thank you for posting this. 10

3 1 Reply
Denis Mair 01 September 2016

Immense thanks for reading what I shared and responding thoughtfully. To claim that life originated from random, accidental collisions of atoms belongs to a mechanistic habit of thought. Such a habit believes in billiard ball causality, so it ignores another level of causality. On the level of conditioning causes, one finds interwovenness among properties of common substances (such as water, carbon, nitrogen) , and this makes many things possible. Interwovenness among laws and properties and tendencies of common substances is prior to natural selection. You are right on target when you associate the origin of life with the sea. The scientist Michael Denton celebrates the wonderful properties of water in his book THE DESTINY OF NATURE. I want to write a poem about this. Water's properties make it a universal circulator. As an important component in the scheme of life it is an enlivener: it cannot be corralled into the dichotomy of animate-vs.-inanimate. Water leaches trace minerals and elements out of the soil and makes them available to living things. As trace minerals are depleted from the soil, new mountains are thrusting up all the time from within the earth's crust. Water crumbles and erodes that rock, and in the process it brings new trace elements to flatland areas. Besides carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and Sulphur, all living things contain 20+ trace substances. We haven't even figured out all of their functions, but we need them, and water brings them! On top of that, the wavelengths of sunlight make a peak in the visible area of the spectrum. If that peak were shifted a bit toward ultra-violet, our planet would be over-exposed to ultra-violet light, which would damage genetic material and make life as we know it impossible. If the peak were shifted a bit toward infra-red wavelengths, the surface of our planet would be too hot for life as we know it. So the interlocking properties of matter are not just chemical reactions in a test tube. They tend to build up in tiers. It just gets wilder and woolier the more we understand about life on earth. So no, it is not random. You don't get interlocking laws and properties by accident. I personally think that there is a cosmic predisposition or telos toward intelligent life. I think the cosmos itself may be a sacred vessel, whatever that means. At least it is sacred enough to incubate life. I want to keep a place in my heart for that. I hesitate to use a word like design which is infected by human instrumentalism. If we claim that matter has to exist under a designing, controlling agency, maybe we end up diminishing matter's own marvelousness. In the world view of some, matter ends up being 'brute stuff' trodden under a mechanist's heel. The telos of life seems to be aimed toward the unknown, as our search for understanding should be. As humans on earth it seems we have a long way to go before we can get a handle on life in the cosmos. This is something else I want to write a poem about: The life-enabling wavelengths of Sol's light Are rays in the bodily aura of Cosmic Man...

1 0
Akhtar Jawad 27 December 2019

How Amino Acids were produced, and how matter started reproducing, a very difficult topic and man could not understand it yet completely. We the believers have a very easy reply that there is a God who did it. However the poet is a great philosopher, he thinks and has succeeded to explain the evolution of life up to a certain extent.

1 0 Reply
Denis Mair 27 December 2019

Thanks for the encouragement, Aktar! Sometimes I come close to believing in the Creator. By learning about life's complexities, I hope to get an inkling of what was/is going through the Creator's mind. Maybe this is my way of paying tribute to the Creation. Of course, I mustn't forget that loving conduct is a more fundamental way.

0 0
Denis Mair 09 January 2020

I wrote this poem in 2004. Since then I have continued my delvings into the wellsprings of life. I invite you to read them: 1) PALACE OF WATER; 2) IN THE FOAM; 3) MOLECULAR BEGINNINGS; 4) INVOCATION TO KUN THE RECEPTIVE; 5) THE PREMISE OF BEAUTY.

0 0
Indira Renganathan 13 August 2023

Too inspiring...as Susan puts it this poem should be given multiple visits to enjoy...this poem teaches many things to me...amazing write...thank you

0 0 Reply
Jim McGill 01 June 2023

Thank you for sharing this.

0 0 Reply
Prabhata Kumar Sahoo 30 April 2023

After a long days.....

0 0 Reply
Thomas Case 11 March 2023

This poem is powerful

0 0 Reply
Tom Allport 13 July 2022

A wonderful write about the miracle of just being in the living cosmic ocean.

0 0 Reply
Error Success