Breathe – A Poem by Rowe Williams

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. – Genesis 2:7, NIV

Humans have always wondered
where we come from.
We plumb the depths of mythology, religion,
philosophy, science, begging each to reveal
what's inside of us.

I found out recently the Quiche Maya believed
we were made of corn. Science
shows this is not too far off - 
similar biomolecules, elements, even organelles can
be found in humans and corn. But
it's more accurate to say we come from some
other hominid, with their own ancestor, and
so on back to some strange, unknown
and unknowable universal ancestor
(which became both corn and homo sapiens).

This ancestor arose in a primordial
soup, perhaps aided by the iterative drying
and watering of clay.

The Bible, whose name itself means Book,
so important it seems to need no other name,
makes a related claim. That we
are made of dust. So,
at my grandfather's funeral, we solemnly repeated
"Ashes to ashes.
Dust to dust."

But the Bible, the Book, makes another claim
about our origin. Though our bodies
are dust, our life is from Him.
breathed Life into us.
And we lived.

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