Illustrating molecular motion in a gas (black molecules here considered at rest); from Percival Lowell’s The Evolution of Worlds

The centuries are conspirators
against the sanity and authority
of the soul.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

As the old century closed
and I resigned myself to climb

the acclivity of the new –
like a muzhik forever fixed

in his lower track, or how
a withdrawn Australian cattle dog

can still herd stock as apt
and insistent as instinct –

my conscription in this Argive-like
quest continued: oracled, unquestioned,

acyclic, amaranthine, no aah
emanating from any tower

of babble. Thus classified
acclimatizer, fated never

to upbraid my elders
or disobey my betters, how,

Waldo, will I ever become
more conscious? As ungainly,

as audacious, as an amateur,
as dicey as a tyro? So

awkward and awakened?
So goddamned sapient?