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Issues of the Day Turritopsis dohrnii, Forever Young: A Poem Inspired by a Jellyfish
 

We had barely a breather following the recent hostilities with Gaza before Israel's citizenry once again beheld the political spectacle that accompanies our elections campaigns.


An Italian friend of mine whom I met today in Vienna disputed my claim that Israel's political scene is unparalleled in the world for its audacity: In a weekend that saw Prime Minster Mario Monti suddenly resign his post and the announcement that Silvio Berlusconi has returned to the political fray, my friend from Milano disbelieves that politics anywhere could be as bad as in her country.

 

I assured her that Israel's political landscape is truly the more tragicomic and while she was reluctant to concur we agreed to settle the issue by characterizing politics in our respective countries as circuses.


I found comfort amidst all the high drama in Israel's political life by reading an article originally published as "Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?" in the magazine section of The New York Times" concerning a tiny medusa with very unusual characteristics: as author Nathaniel Rich reports, the creature ages and then on the edge of its demise reverts back to its infancy and resumes the life cycle anew. 

 

While it seems to me that nothing corpuscular can live forever, the "immortal jellyfish" offers an opportunity to contemplate our existence. I did so in a poem that I wrote (accessible here) which allowed me to escape the folly of the day and consider our place in the cosmos.

 

Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?, The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 28, 2012. 

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