The Song of LUCA

I have so much to say on this topic, but that takes a lot of time. It’s necessary for a scientific paper to have a long list of references, proofs of everything you are saying, pictures, etc., etc., and in the end will reach only a few people who are just interested in the same matter. I know that it is necessary to go through the long procedure, but you can never be sure, whether there isn’t someone else who will be ready before you to say just the same and you have done almost everything in vain. So I had a strange idea, of which I am not sure that it can actually work, but I thought it may be worth testing. So I started to write a poem that exclusively contains the quintessence of what I want to say before all the necessary steps are done for a truly scientific publication.

A poem is an authetic publication, in this case dealing with one of the most controversial, but also most important themes in biology, the origin of life and its evolution on Earth. It is such a general problem, that it is not necessarily interesting only for specialists, and presented as a poem it may appeal also to those interested in new traits in litterature. Btw., it is not so new as it seems: already Goethe introduced his theory on what he called the metamorphosis of plants, one of the roots of plant morphology, in a poem, which later was followed by a more extensive text in prose. It’s just an attempt, nothing which I consider as final. I ask for mercy if you shouldn’t like it.

The Song of LUCA

Let me sing of LUCA,

The Last (and first) Universal Common Ancestor

Of all that is life.

It is not an individual nor a species,

Neither bacterium nor archaeon,

It’s primaeval slime covering all that sustains it

Like Solaris’ ocean of Stanislaw Lem

That contained everything we know separated .

It is primaeval slime

Containing the seeds of all future progeny

Before separation, individualization, compartmentalization began.

For billions of years it existed as the sole being,

As an almost unlimited potential

Formed by molecules attracting each other,

Activated by cosmic rather than telluric phosphorus

And the light of the sun,

Not yet truly alive undergoing inverse evolution,

That led to complexity basic to life.

This primaeval slime, which we may call LUCA,

Was the first entity with potential of life,

A step in the evolution of the planet itself,

Gaia, the Mother of All.

Complexity growing, surpassing the border of living matrix,

Led to a splitting into tiny fragments,

Each of which was alive, smaller than dust,

But they all were connected, could communicate,

Exchanging the informations needed

To stay alive and to propagate

In a state of non-Darwinian evolution.

From there began a new phase in the stream,

Creating amazing diversity,

But showing patterns of iteration

In form and function

Along numerous lines of increasing complexity

Of the Tree of Life in unending branching

Not by chance, but following mathematical law

For fractals ordering former chaos

Expressed in Mandelbrot’s formula.

How poor our language, dead words, that murder

The wonder and beauty of Gaia’s glory,

But always better than knowledge lost!

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