2nd Sat Strollers

By AndrewDBurns

until I dreamed ...

Just a few days ago, I blipped a poem by Ruth Padel (who is Charles Darwin's great-great-granddaughter) ...

... prompted by a comment from Bernard Young; here's another favourite verse, as taken from Padel's quite marvelous 2009 collection, which is entitled, "Darwin: A Life in Poems ", and is a poetic-interpretation of Darwin's incredible life-story:

On Not Thinking About Variation in Tortoise-Shell

Pure volcano. A mantle of hot bare rock. “Nothing could be less
          inviting. A broken field of black basaltic lava
          thrown into most rugged waves and crossed
by fissures.” Lava tubes, tuff cones and bright,
          red-orange crabs. A land iguana! One saffron
          leathery elbow, powdery as lichen, sticking out
like a man doing press-ups while leering at the sand.
          The marine iguana ... “Hideous! An imp of darkness.
          On Albermarle they seem to grow to a larger size.”
Young sea lions nip their tails for fun and fling them in the air
          like cats with mice. To eat them? No — nothing here,
except one hawk, is carnivore; and none afraid of Man.
Look — giant tortoises! “Travelling eagerly, their necks
          outstretched, to springs. I tried riding on their backs
          but found it hard to balance! The colony's Vice-Governor
told us he knew which island any shell came from
          because they differ. I did not for some time
          pay this enough attention. I never dreamed
that islands sixty miles apart, made of the same stone,
          of nearly equal height in the same climate,
          could have different tenants.” Fast forward twenty years
and you see him write of this scatter-burst of rock in open sea,
          “We seem brought near that mystery of mysteries,
          the first appearance of new beings on the earth.”

Ruth Padel (1946 - )


Sign in or get an account to comment.