Fossils & Speculation, two poems by Gary Beck


      Long before creatures
      obligingly crawled
      into ice, earth, stone,
      to become fossils,
      determined to seek
      life after death,
      there were no comfortless speculations
      of science and religion.


      Shades of regret
      quickly interfere
      with timely recognition
      of our immoral acts.
      We lose hope of redemption
      if we don’t differentiate
      between the various degrees
      that separate right from wrong.
      With all our talk of afterlife,
      some of us are still not sure
      if consciousness survives death
      and allows continuation.
      For those who lack certainty,
      nature or reason must prevail
      and reason will elevate our hopes,
      while nature will release the beasts.

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Emily Waples