22 August 2006

The good news about poetry and octopi

The mail continues to bring nice letters. Today, Christianity and Literature sent word that they have accepted "Down the Sea's Throat, Singing." Wow. That's the third poem accepted this year. The third poem accepted ever. The third poem accepted since I became with child. I think there's a connection here.

In other news, I have today learned about the mating practices of the giant octopus. Why? you ask. Long story. The point is, it's fascinating. The upshot: relatively small male octopus approaches relatively large female octopus, uses his fake arm (his reproductive organ is a third right leg) to insert a 1-meter-long rope of sperm into the female who later hangs strings of up to 100,000 eggs in underwater caves, then fasts as she tends them obsessively, clearing the strings of any possible sea debris for about seven months, at which point she dies (the father has died a few months after mating) and maybe 100 of the young survive.

I'm glad human reproduction doesn't require such sacrifice. Then again, maybe it does. Nine months tending the womb, not quite so obsessively, and most males and females involved in the process do survive the experience, but it's a daily death to serve the little bugger rightly. Maybe if I were mothering 100,000 simultaneously, even if only .01% survived, it would be a different story.

But maybe that survival rate has something to do with it. The mother octopus has given herself for a worldful of children, and she is designed to sacrifice herself entirely even if only for a very few who make it into real octopus-ness. The odds of becoming real humans aren't so much greater for our species. And we need true sacrifice from another perfect love in order to become so.

2 comments:

Brent and Kat said...

"The odds of becoming real humans aren't so much greater for our species." ~ My spider-senses detect a note of double-entendre here. I've spent enough time in Church to recognize a "nature is to christianity as..." metaphor. It IS astute, though, to recognize what a wonderful drive to live our Creator has instilled within us. But to live for what? That IS the question. Love your blog!!!

Jen Strange said...

Well, I'm not sure the connection is so intentional as you'd thought. I'm just rather convinced that God has fashioned all this business on purpose--to display His redemptive narrative over and over throughout the creation.

Not like all of nature is in the same category revelation as the plenary verbal inspiration of the Word, but still, it's fashioned after a purpose. Indeed, the question of "what purpose?" remains! The continual dispaly of that same narrative, at the very least. . . .