Earthtongue is a vivarium simulation set on an alien world, where you guide the ecosystem’s development or watch it falter fallow. What’s perhaps most exciting is that instead of paying the nominal fee of $5 for the game, you can pay with art. This is my contribution to that end – a sestina called The Wisdom of the Insect and the Fungus.
* * *
Yet through the glass you could taste on your tongue
A mouth filled with different gravel of a salty earth,
A darkened place you might have left to spoil.
And amid the rustle moves an unassuming insect
Its unfamiliar shape brought out by glow of fungus.
It catches your attention and you deign to see it flourish.
The fabric of the soil moves only with a simple flourish
Reminds you of a thing heard once in grandmother’s tongue:
“The landing of the spore has naught to do with its fungus
But more relies upon the waiting nature of the earth.”
A wary hand manouvers ever closer to the insect,
A gentle nudge, a mindful hand careful that’s not to spoil.
But choice of this leaves to you creation’s wholesome spoil
The fertilising element spurring imagination’s flourish.
The world itself potentially is as a little insect
If choice dictate you crush it beneath either foot or tongue.
Let words and thoughts consign ended history to earth;
Tomorrow day begin again from first advance of fungus.
In darkness kept – watered by tears – begins the newest fungus:
A markedly improving version of its prior spoil,
A sodden soil of failed attempts make up its precious earth.
A spar unfolds and rakes the sky with an idle flourish
Uncannily resembling the motion of a disembodied tongue.
And rests beneath this place of horror that initial insect.
A tiny mind, a little brain, itself protects the insect
From your prying fingers as you pull apart the fungus.
It looks at you with waving fronds that swallow back your tongue.
Cast aside so easily yet resumes its purpose without spoil:
A natural safety program of its growth and idle flourish.
Yet were you dead this mini beast would protect the earth.
Therein lies the realisation’s electric need to earth
That illusion of a choice is less impactful than an insect
Makes itself and the power lies within a need to flourish
Not at this point now but later – so too with the fungus
Leaching spore into the air. Under doubt’s decision spoil
Falters opportunities and leaves only a bad taste on the tongue.
A new approach – combining minds – a very earthen tongue:
Understanding symbiosis flourish into spoil,
Learned from the lowly insect and his partner fungus.