There is a wonderful tradition here in the biology department of using the big dry erase wall in McDonnel Hall for haiku. Perhaps because we spend our lives seeking pattern, rhyme and meter are something of a game to us, and we make a surprisingly decent bunch of poets when the mood/coffee break strikes. Not all of my contributions are good, but a few have been left up under the giant Kilroy Was Here. Presumably, they’re there for posterity, or at least until the F2 generation comes in next month.

2009 being the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth as well as the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of the Species, I thought it might be fun to finish out the year with a Darwin haiku each Wednesday. These posts will be paralleled on our apartment’s joint blog over at Kitchen Table Society, since that actually gets readership, though I might flesh the posts out more here. For a few weeks, though, they may stand in for regular talk while I deal with papers and family matters. Here goes with the first two I put up:

The Beginning

Mockingbirds and strife
from fossils to rhetoric
Darwin & Huxley


Galton misread Charles
conclusions without data
Hitler read Galton

The second one lasted all of 5 hours on the wall; apparently people saw only the names and didn’t think too hard about what it actually said. Look at it in the context of Everett Mendell’s lecture on The World Before Darwin (which happened to address aspects of the post-Darwin world, as well), of Jame’s Watson’s recent racist comments, and the paramount importance of backing not only one’s publications, but one’s opinions, with genuine data.