" Where are you going, my pretty maid?"
"I'm going a-milking, sir," she said.
How many people
over how many decades
sang that rhyme or heard it sung?
Yet no one - maybe Jenner -thought to ask
the reason for her prettiness.
Why every milking maid was pretty.
(It was a known phenomenon.)
(The cows prescribed them cow pox -
protection from disfigurement
from the deadlier small pox germ.)
And so the phrase a pretty girl
was synonym for not pock marked.
The clues were there, the dots
just waiting to be joined.
The way Marx realised
how plain as day dots ran from filth
in new and crowded cities
to ownership of capital,
the way that Darwin
joined the dots
from varieties of species
to their various histories,
the way Freud linked
a man's distress
to what he dreamed
the way that all such thought
is driven by
its time and place
the way creation's work is done
when in its random scatter
someone sees first principles,
the pattern of a grand design.
This poem is entered for Poetry Jam's Connections prompt.
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