Denisovan Psalm

By on March 9, 2016 in News & Musings

Deep inside a Siberian cave,
were found two teeth and a fingertip bone.
DNA analysis concluded these to be
of a young girl from an unknown branch
of humankind, named Denisovan
(after the hermit, Denis, who once lived in the cave).

Two X-chromosomed teeth and a nubbin of bone—
the only record yet known,
that Denisovans ever existed.


Pioneer 10, a space probe launched
to explore the outer planets,
completed its mission, then fell silent
as it slipped the bounds of this solar system home,
to traverse a dark and endless void—
alone and incommunicado.

Scientists predict it will pass by Aldebaran
(a “nearby” star) in some
two million years.


Forty thousand years have passed
since that Denisovan died.
WHO was she?
What mattered to her?
What did she dream for herself?
Did she ever stare up at a raven sky and wonder,
Who it was that made her?

Her only legacy (and of all her kind) is
two teeth and a tiny bone. Nothing else.


Fifty times longer than that will pass,
from now till when that lonely ship “arrives.”
Then today will be a very, very long time ago.
What of ME shall, by then, remain?
Any sign or even distant ripple?
Or Denisovan oblivion,
and radio silence?


Or more?

God said to the exiles:

   “Can a woman forget her nursing-child, or show no compassion
for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.”1


Remember my dust, O Lord, when I sleep (trusting) in you.

1 Isaiah 49:15-16

Brad Langley


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