Angel of Destruction
I am the personification of your ignorance. The devil incarnate.
Greed, stupidity and hatred are normally invisible forces. Always somewhere else. Now I have made them solidify out of the thin air. Here they are, Gothic, in this Tower, in this body, in this now.
You need not fight me. Continue as you are and I will go about my work. You are free to do nothing. Suits me.
The feeble staff of this Grand University Museum can do nothing against the massed power I represent. Decay, destruction, degradation, extinction will continue until everything has disappeared from under your nose.
If you have a nose left, that is. It’s highly unlikely that your nose will be the last to go.
Empty threats? Let’s take today’s exhibit: the seed of the Black Poplar, Populus nigra ssp. betulifolia.
Why are there only a few thousand of them left in the whole of Britain? And most of these genetically identical, so they are extremely vulnerable to any chance trauma? Most of us will only ever have seen one in John Constable’s painting The Hay Wain. Why are they now on the way to extinction? Because we didn’t like the mess the females made in our streets? In America Poplars are called Cottonwood trees because of these distinctive seeds. We got rid of those messy females, and now the boys stand alone and our streets are pure.
Our streets? Who was here first? The streets, or the Poplars? And for which city of creatures is the Poplar itself the High Street?
But those are awkward questions. Speaking as a human, I like my streets free of everything else so I can go fast to my next important appointment.
Did we even know that there was a male and a female Poplar tree? Did we guess at the delicate mating ritual it has, in which the two sexes must stand close together without hybrid onlookers, and their fertilized seed must fall just so, on a bare patch of soil, free of competitors, with just the right wetness, at just the right time of year?
But perhaps there is no room for such a delicate flower in a rough and tough world. Survival of the fittest and all that. Humans have made it to the top by being the best, not by stopping for stragglers. We don’t have time to look after every filthy little runt of nature.
In destroying this seed I am merely personifying our society’s customary attitude. No one seems to have a problem with it as long as it’s invisible.
So, unless anyone has a different plan, let’s say goodbye to the Black Poplars. It’s been nice knowing you.
Anyway, we still have the Hay Wain.
(hmm…wonder which museum that’s in…)