Consider the first fish, struggling
to escape its hostile environment,
painfully gasping raw oxygen,
stumping on misshapen fins.
Everywhere, pools were drying out;
It needed to survive,
but did not know that survival
meant it would pass through
a one-way gate.
There would be no returning.
Its brain had enlarged; it had become
a land dweller; like us
it would drown if immersed in water.
If there had been anyone
to watch the desperate endeavour
of that failed Devonian fish,
the watcher would never have predicted
300 million years later,
that fish would walk upright under the stars.
We're a bit complacent about time;
if asked about the next 300 million,
we claim: “More of us; we are the future.”
And we muddle up time and causality,
assuming there is an underlying
That fish had intentions.
It never seems to occur to us
that time means change,
that in 300 million years
there might well be
a vastly different creature
looking back to its own beginnings,
merely glancing at
our brief span of time,
stigmatising us offhandedly
as failed human beings.