Friday, February 3, 2012

Time means change

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

teleological urge.

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.


  1. Most interesting poem, Diana. I like your ability to stand back and see beyond the whole picture. I'm now swimming a lot and can almost remember my time as a fish!
    And now Google is asking me to prove I'm not a robot! What more do they want?!!

  2. I am reading a Margaret Atwood book with the the potential turning point for just such a possible future!