Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Conjugation of the Paramecium

This has nothing
to do with
propagating


The species
is continued
as so many are
(among the smaller creatures)


by fission
(and this species
is very small
next in order to


the amoeba, the beginning one)
The paramecium
achieves, then,
immortality
by dividing


But when
the paramecium
desires renewal
strength another joy
this is what
the paramecium does:


The paramecium
lies down beside
another paramecium


Slowly inexplicably
the exchange
takes place
in which
some bits
of the nucleus of each
are exchanged


for some bits
of the nucleus
of the other


This is called
the conjugation of the paramecium.




-- Muriel Rukeyser

5 comments:

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Oh yes. Certainly. Good one. Rukeyser is outstanding.

Peter said...

I think this is my favorite Rukeyser poem.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Wonderful poem. It is fated that I must read more by Muriel Rukeyser (this is the first of her poems I've read!). Sharon Olds mentioned her at her reading at the Scottish POetry Library this week and then she (Rukeyser) was name-checked in a Jeanette Winterson novel I was reading. So thank you for introducing me to her work....

Patry Francis said...

Almost forgot about Muriel Rukeyser. It's good to be reminded.

jenni said...

Yay! This is my favorite poem of hers, this one and her "Mask" poem.