|ABOARD THE HMS BEAGLE
Imagine those two men grappling,
for five years, unprepared for all those facts
at odds with what everyone knew.
How does it feel to be pushed off
the terra firma
of God's immutable Word?
Imagine their wonder at giant mammal
fossils in Argentina, proof of the vast process
of constant transformation.
Imagine Captain Fitz Roy amassing the details-
beaks of fifty-two species of finches, making
accurate notes, unwitting aid to Darwin.
Imagine the Captain's first step toward despair,
having invited Darwin aboard, so distraught
he slits his own throat.
Imagine how Darwin returned from this trip
with enough data for decades, reconciling
truths already evident in dog and pigeon breeds.
New species take 10,000 years to develop.
Descent with modification, Darwin said, unaware
of genetics or Mendel's work.
Science is reason and observation,
a willingness to let go of beliefs
when facts dispute them.
Evolution is the holy eucharist of nature
some can't swallow.
The earth moves. Species change.
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