Calmly, the papers calculate the chance
That in ten years the planet and a shard
Of rock will consummate the long romance
We’ve led with ruin. This will be ignored:
Not for the long but lotto-beating odds,
But from the madman’s counterfactual ease
That fissions us as always into gods
Who count in aeons and eternities,
And beasts who scavenge for the daily kill,
Gobbling down the meat that will not keep.
Does the beast suspect that nuclear winter will
Be secretly welcome as untroubled sleep,
And does the god observe the sky in peace
Since his life neither starts nor ends in weather?
Both let what will come come; for the decrees
Of the asteroid are righteous altogether.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 24 Number 3, on page 26
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