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Cells, A Poem

Cells

 

Imagine miniature cities

Aswarm with bustling centers of activity,

factories, powerhouses,

post offices, libraries,

trash collection and recycling,

quality control,

railroads and architecture,

import/export centers,

communication networks, and transport vehicles.

 

These cities organize themselves from seed cities,

according to a complex negotiation process

that assigns them their duties and location.

Some cities specialize in manufacture and export,

some in signal processing,

some in reclamation or storage,

some in warfare,

and some preserve the heritage of the whole nation

and pass it on.

 

Each city has no mayor or aldermen or police.

Its multitudinous minions

are self-directed, self-replicating wonders

and each city cooperates with its neighbors

to maintain balance, order,

and peaceful exchange

for the good of the nation.

 

Some cities pick up and move, patrolling the highways,

some stretch enormous distances to maintain communication,

and some link shields to form the nation’s boundaries.

Some denude themselves and serve the rest

by carrying oxygen to all.

Some live to divide,

some adopt a fixed identity and never reproduce again.

 

All are altruistic in their focus,

unless the encoded information

in the library becomes corrupted,

or signals snarl and warp the message,

turning self-sacrifice into the endless hunger,

rampage and self-aggrandizement of cancer.

 

Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

Used with permission

 

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