Chemical signals

Scientists have as much right to poetry as everyone else! I think that, and my students have said as much. The amazing stuff that scientists figure out about the natural world is thought-provoking and sometimes leads to a poem. Here’s one of mine. If you write one, maybe share it with me?

An ant colony as a body–

one rock, aphanite, united.

One ant goes missing, no big deal, but

one missing hydrocarbon in a set of three

changes everything.

The dead, then, are not dead;

enemy, friend, parasite, slave maker, family member, burglars

are not just nemy riend arasite lave aker amily ember and urglars

they are unnoticed, welcomed.

Aphaeresis matters

nd no error detection codes lead to baneful miscues.

But Wilson says, “One ant alone is a disappointment.”

Think of the superorganism, and then see multitudinous redundancy,

the success of the species.

But don’t look too long, or you’ll see yourself, expendable,

an useless ember, a guttering urglar, nemy riend.

—Dana Cairns Watson

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