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Where Death Will Jump

I must scan and scan, to
always seek the surprise

point of danger.  My
children die easily;

people in my tribe
die easily.  It is my

job to always watch
and watch to discover 

where death will jump 
up to snatch one of us

away.  Sometimes death
is fast and comes as a beast 

who eats us quickly, other
times it takes us slowly,

as when we starve if I 
fail to kill enough game;

sometimes we are eaten,
sometimes we starve,

at all times, I must scan
and scan and watch closely.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a geologist, paleontologist, philosopher-theologian and priest. Leaving his teaching career at the Catholic Institute in Paris where his superiors charged him with unorthodox views, he spent twenty years in China, participating in the discovery of Peking man. Writing in "The Phenomenon of Man," he said, "With his customary acute intuition, Henri Breuil said to me one day: 'We have only just cast off the last moorings which held us to the Neolithic age'."

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