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Saturday, 7 October 2017

On Heredity, Family Trees, Genealogy, Genetics

"Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponent will do it for you" - Mark Twain


I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.

The years-heired feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance - that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die.

Thomas Hardy

From The Twelth Generation

I should like to trace my descent
to the seventh generation, and
find through the laws of genetics
what flowers hide
between horse-radish and black radish,
what cause for pride
and what to be afraid of?

They say that
my face and frame
resemble my father. But how to find
where our stock arises?

Leonid Martynov,
translated by Elaine Feinstein

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