stops and starts –
the way change banks up,
unnoticed, then breaks through suddenly,
cartwheeling. Boys become men.
A woman dies. A leaf falls.
The rain starts – did you feel a drop?
I think I did – and then we’re running
under cover. Fruit ripens.

Empty streets – are they the future?
or the past? I couldn’t say.
Endless blue skies, birds singing,
spring slipping into summer
slipping into autumn. What
are memories worth? They cling,
they float away, they sink,
ice-pops melting stickily,
the soil opening to take
the cherry coloured sugary
synthetic juice.

A pushchair and a rainbow-coloured dress,
sunshine on water. Piles of books.
Fluttering through my fingers,
scraps of something, anything.
Scratching the words on rock,
pressing them into clay,
the art of writing onto vellum,
parchment, the tap-tapping,
bell-ting typewriter,
the keyboard that I’m using now,
the notebook that I scribble in,
what are we doing?

A horse drawn on a wall in semi-darkness

Tell me a story. I’m all out of words.

For Brendan at earthweal – thinking about evolution and change and stuff like that.


9 thoughts on “Evolution

  1. This impulse to create – write — tell a story — is, as you say in the end, a primal one and the prima donna of our personal creative history. What’s changed, what can be said to have evolved? Are we any better at it, ten million words later? Who knows? We just keep on writing. I love the iteration of a world in all its drafts and revisions here. — Brendan (PS, the link at earthweal for this poem isn’t working. You might want to try again.)


  2. Each image so crystal-clear. The ping of the typewriter took me back to the decades I spent pounding on an old Underwood. Even farther back, I used a pen nib and ink in school – cant imagine how messy that would be today. Wonderfully colourful images in this poem.


  3. “ice-pops melting stickily” such a marvelous metaphor for memory. And this poem! The way change surprises us! I love the cartwheels. One day empty streets, one day, what!?? You move us from amazing images to the painting on a wall, as if time moved backwards. To be out of words. I hope not.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have distilled evolution perfectly, Sarah, it’s so subtle we don’t notice it happening. With its stops and starts. I love the cartwheeling and the ripening fruit but feel a frisson of fear at the possibility of empty streets as a future. I did enjoy their emptiness during the lockdown, so peaceful, but you can have too much of a good thing, and the busy, colourful reminder of the past kaleidoscoped into my head and made me smile – the ice-pops melting stickily, pushchair and a rainbow-coloured dress. But what caught my attention was the evolution of the storyteller, the rock, to clay to parchment… and then back to that horse on the wall. So much repeats itself in life, maybe that’s where we’re heading again.


  5. Great read. I especially liked the beginning, “stops and starts –
    the way change banks up,
    unnoticed, then breaks through suddenly,
    How do we understand evolution while being a point in the process of it continuing to shift?
    A great topic for poetry.


  6. Pingback: Re-volution | Fmme writes poems

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