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Quatrain to the Organs

Though I’ve observed dozens of surgeries and autopsies in the past, I am always astonished at the scale of our internal organs. In my imagination, the body is a TARDISian vessel, where the brain, heart, and digestive system, along with all the organs, are of an immense size, rightly proportional to their grand complexity. But in fact, they are diminutive organs, deceptively so, over-modest and underwhelming when exposed to light and air and our probing inspections. My expectation, based on their miraculous accomplishments, is to be awed at our introduction:

Brain, surely your visage will bespeak your sovereign seat.

Heart, surely your adornment will forewarn of your authority!

Lungs, won’t your appearance inspire adherence to a smoke free policy?

But from unlearned eyes, such splendor hides in the gross anatomy.

They don’t look like superstructures of state-of-the-art molecular nanotechnology; not at first glance. They look like meaty, or gelatinous, or rubberized shapes, perhaps no more complex than the mannequins and models usually employed to represent them. My eyes, lacking the necessary magnification and resolution, can’t detect the marvelous miniature structures hidden in front of me. But my vantage point is privileged: though my eyes fail me, my imagination, flush with knowledge, paints with detail. I know what these organs accomplish and know how truly complex they must therefore be. My mind’s eye takes me close to their living surfaces and inside their secret cathedrals. I see, as if flying along its sprawling length, a great axon reaching out to pass its tickling charge along an arboreal chain. But from wakeful eyes, such splendor hides in the gross anatomy.



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