ALGORITHMS

For Danny Hillis

What tiny shreds of chaff and leaves

Were bound by pilgrims into sheaves,

Making something we remember

From the vacant landscapes of November?

 

How many pregnant freckled grains

Are carried by the April rains

That through productive branches shower

The prom queen's white impassioned flower?

 

Who knows how such abandoned scrapings could

Unionize into a grown-up wood

Or how this scraggly potpourri

Could organize a single tree:

 

But listen while forgotten bark

Combines its forces in the dark,

Where roots and needles mess around

Until they metamorphose to ground.

 

Like forgotten movie stars,

They pool their talents in the bars.

The world succeeds in retrospect

Better than we might expect:

 

The more the leaden sky is glummer,

The more it works to make a summer;

The more the leaden sky is glum,

The more it works to make a sum.