Poetry Planters by Holy Blue along Queen Street East.
C. 58: Rome: Lucretius from On The Nature of Things
Surely, A certain matter is given each thing for growth / And birth, determining what can arise. / Nothing from nothing–That must be admitted, / since things need the right seeds, their first beginnings, / To be brought forth into the gentle breeze. / Last, since we see that a tilled field repays / Our hands with finer crops, there must of course / Be atoms down in the earth, and when we sow / the rich clumps, turning them over, working the soil / Till it's loose and soft, we stir these seeds to life. / If there were none, then with no sweat we'd have / Those finer crops spring up spontaneously.
How could Venus lead the animals, kind by kind, / To the light of life, or how could the artful earth / Feed them with food for their kinds and cause them to grow? / Our of what would the inner springs and the distant rivers / Sustain the sea? Or the heavens pasture the stars? / Anything made out of destructible matter / Infinite time would have devoured before. / But if the atoms that make and replenish the world / Have endured through the immense span of the past / Their natures are immortal–that is clear. / Never can things revert to nothingness!