The picture above is from an episode of Futurama I watched with my boys. The robot, Bender, is adrift in space. His body is populated by ‘Shrimpkins’.
Auden wrote “A New Year Greeting” the year I was born. It was in response to an article entitled, “Life on the Human Skin“. I think it is rather fine.
A New Year Greeting After an article by Mary J. Marples in Scientific American, January, 1969 On this day tradition allots to taking stock of our lives, my greetings to all of you, Yeasts, Bacteria, Viruses, Aerobics and Anaerobics: A Very Happy New Year to all for whom my ectoderm is as Middle-Earth to me. For creatures your size I offer a free choice of habitat, so settle yourselves in the zone that suits you best, in the pools of my pores or the tropical forests of arm-pit and crotch, in the deserts of my fore-arms, or the cool woods of my scalp. Build colonies: I will supply adequate warmth and moisture, the sebum and lipids you need, on condition you never do me annoy with your presence, but behave as good guests should, not rioting into acne or athlete's-foot or a boil. Does my inner weather affect the surfaces where you live? Do unpredictable changes record my rocketing plunge from fairs when the mind is in tift and relevant thoughts occur to fouls when nothing will happen and no one calls and it rains. I should like to think that I make a not impossible world, but an Eden it cannot be: my games, my purposive acts, may turn to catastrophes there. If you were religious folk, how would your dramas justify unmerited suffering? By what myths would your priests account for the hurricanes that come twice every twenty-four hours, each time I dress or undress, when, clinging to keratin rafts, whole cities are swept away to perish in space, or the Flood that scalds to death when I bathe? Then, sooner or later, will dawn a Day of Apocalypse, when my mantle suddenly turns too cold, too rancid, for you, appetising to predators of a fiercer sort, and I am stripped of excuse and nimbus, a Past, subject to Judgement. 1969