A God & Nature contributor with whom I have a delightful correspondence, Gene Lemcio, recently sent me the following poem asking for feedback, anticipating, as all long-time writers do, that it could probably use some revisions, and that these revisions would be helped along with insights from an outside reader.
"The Wasteful Gene"
By Eugene E. Lemcio
It has been said, “Religion’s profligate;
but Mother Nature’s mean:
a miser who makes jealous use of all she breeds.”
And yet, her children—prodigal—reject this legacy.
One finds it dramatized in that theatrical cliché
of writers tossing crumpled pages clear across the room
because they could not get it right—again.
That Florentine discarded tons of marble blocks
since they refused to yield the forms he knew were locked within.
The House of Medici was needed to sustain his restless mind and soul.
We’ll neither see nor hear again rehearsals of those masterpieces that
define our human heritage as co-creators of both sound and sense.
They linger mostly in the memory of those who sang, and played, and spoke.
Can any count the frames of (now outdated) celluloid,
whose strips curled loosely on the floor until
custodians consigned them to the pit?
Does science find itself immune from fits and starts?
How many fragile filaments did Thomas Alva Edison reject
before the heat and light of incandescence finally embraced?
We gaze in wonder at the spindly models patched
by Watson, Crick, and Franklin of
the molecule that elegantly twins itself to make us one.
I blush to think of all the words that vanished from my screen in writing this.
Perhaps they still inhabit cyberspace, though launched into the void
with expletives for which I’ll have to give account on that Great Day.
Such costly labor lost—these deeds of love
that follow in the train of Adam’s curse.
Eugene Lemcio, Emeritus Professor of New Testament at Seattle Pacific University, taught there for thirty-six years. He earned an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Cambridge University (Trinity College). Gene began his academic career at Houghton College with a B.S. in zoology (and a minor in chemistry).
Eugene came to faith among a tiny congregation of pre-WW1 and post-WW2 Ukrainian Baptist immigrants in Chester, PA. Later immersion in the intellectual and spiritual traditions of Anglo-Methodism acquainted him with the so-called "Wesleyan Quadrilateral": Scripture, reason, tradition and experience (=experiment).