Ants, by Daniel Hoffman

There are a lot of researchers here studying ants…they call ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex “Pogos”.  I spent some time working with ants too!  They are fascinating creatures.


Theirs is a perfection of pure form.

Nobody but has his proper place and knows it.

Everything they do is functional.

Each foray in a zigzag line

Each prodigious lifting

Of thirty-two times their own weight

Each excavation into the earth’s core

Each erection

Of a crumbly parapetted tower —

None of these feats is a private pleasure,

None of them done

For the sake of the skill alone —

They’ve got a going concern down there,

A full egg-hatchery

A wet-nursery of aphids

A trained troop of maintenance engineers

Sanitation experts

A corps of hunters

And butchers

An army

A queen


Is nothing without the others, each being a part

Of something greater than all of them put together

A purpose which none of them knows

Since each is only

The one thing that he does. There is

A true consistency

Toward which their actions tend.

The ants have bred and inbred to perfection.

The strains of their genes that survive survive.

Every possible contingency

Has been foreseen and written into the plan.

Nothing they do will be wrong.

– Daniel Hoffman


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