Possibly Evolving the Power of Speech

Let’s try something new, shall we? Like most things in my life, the original context to this is long-forgotten, and even if I remembered it, there is still a big chance it would make no sense.

Anyway, the story goes like this.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, and he challenged me to write a poem involving Venn diagrams. Heaven knows why we were talking about Venn diagrams, when we’re both biologists. Because of this, however, I also tried to write a poem with a biological theme throughout it. As a result, evolution crops up repeatedly, in an organismal sense, but also with respect to changing relationships, family, and attitudes.

So far, nothing’s new. Biology wordplay is something that I already churn out to my nearest and dearest; the bigger the groan at a forced pun, the better. However, as I was spinning this poem, it had a bit of a rhythm that I wanted people to hear; I wanted people to feel it the way I felt it.

So the only option was to record it! This is my first attempt at anything like spoken word poetry, so I appreciate that it’s hardly polished, but this is the way the poem feels to me, and I hope you enjoy it. I’d appreciate any criticisms and advice, but be gentle with my seedling efforts.

So here is “Venn Diagrams” (with words below).


Venn Diagrams

We were mindless, we were protozoan,
Until some wanderlust guppy said, “Fuck this, I’m going”, 
With no way of knowing all the trouble he’d cause,
Just an utterance, our brother since looking for more. 

So the options weren’t an option, no organism left behind,
We set forth and wandering, only brothers and sisters on our mind,
And a promise to steel us til we find,
One another and reunite.

But my brother left me, my blood is spread round the earth,
Millennia tick past, blood ties lose their worth,
When it all boils down tell me what’s worse:
That we’re all on our own, or that the loneliness hurts.

To be a lone lioness, with injured pride,
To ache for another on the inside,
It’s not a case of soulmates, it’s cellmates, seeking for my kindred,
mitochondria, my beating hearts that have long since been splintered,

And we’ve wintered wide apart but I’ll make sure that we recover,
Throw our hearts together until we become each other,
It’s human nature, it’s nature’s nature preying on another,
And changing only like before a lover.

I wonder if the worries are even worth the while,
Of whiling away time just to try and find a smile,
That slightly mirrors mine after however many miles,
Will they recognise their home after all these trials?

I’ve been on dates, each one the same, in spite of my decaying,
When did carbon copies become carbon dating?
When did the sake of romance become forsaken,
And when was the sole use of love just to have the piss taken?

I’ve been mistaken, take for granted now I know we’re not the same,
But to be one in a million seems a shame,
Instead let me be your centurion, recognise my name,
In a list of lovers taken for the sake of playing games.

Individuality is critical, it’s key,
We’ve evolved too far to just be,
So let’s be complicated, and complement whatever family,
We choose to adopt and embrace and sew into our tree.

Cause it’s a tapestry, it changes, and I’ve changed my plan,
All that I can ask is to meet mine again,
And when we come together, with my spent diaphragm,
I say, “Let’s just lie like Venn diagrams”



Psychopathic Rabbit, Why Not?

Limericks are fun.
Compound syllable rhyming is fun.
Disproportionate imaginary animal revenge is fun.
So enjoy!

There once was a rabbit called Benjamin,
He was cold but the farmer wouldn’t let him in,
So he broke down the door,
Killed the family of four,
And he and farmer were friends again.

Ghosts, Jealousy, Dreaming, More Synonyms

Here’s something else from the archives of the computer, in a folder I don’t often go to. Something of a word dump to get things out of my brain at the time. Usually I’m a stickler for structured poems rather than disjointed images, but those disjointed images slapping you in the face is how emotions happen. This isn’t an attempt to work through something, but a snapshot of something; just an expression in all its rawness. This is jealousy, and “The Ghosts of Who I Want to Be”.

The Ghosts of Who I Want to Be

I feel the ghosts of who I want to be scratching at the back of my eyes,
and my every mistake drifts sidewise through me.

The guilt sits pregnant on my gag reflex, and I’d spill my guts before I swallow another missed opportunity.

My skin pricks in ways only extinct passions create, and I imagine succubi with younger lovers now,
Basking in jealousy that takes me half way to an orgasm of discomfort.

Welcome draughts wander in to whisper bittersweet nothings,
And convince me I’m less alone than I need to be.

My jaw aches from biting my tongue, and I drift off to dreams where I can pretend I was biting hers…

Returning to the Wandering Road

Hello, world!


Doing the science! Climbing trees, trying to find the lemurs.

I have just returned from five months in the wild. Well, five months in Madagascar. It was the furthest I’ve ever been removed from the life I know. Actually off-grid for big chunks, though partly self-imposed. It’s been an experience, a test, and one of my biggest adventures. Anything that wasn’t an amazing experience at the time became a hilarious story once it was over. Many absurd stories.

Also, it was with a bunch of absolute nutters, which is always a huge bonus.

By coincidence, I just found a poem I had written a year ago (53 weeks, to be exact), when I had similarly returned from an adventure and was looking to the future and bigger things to come. I don’t really remember writing it, but it’s certainly a poem that still resonates with my feelings a year on. I’ll share the poems I wrote out in Madagascar, but for now this is one that’s just as relevant.

Every line or couplet holds a significance that captures a certain interpretation of the poem, and using one for a title would possibly divert away from other layers, so I’ll just be using the first line for now.

It’s a Roman road,
Going straight and narrow.
Feels like broken bones,
Flying like an arrow.
If roads lead to Rome,
But it feels like bad aim,
It’s not going home,
Only going insane.

I’ve an altered gait,
Means I’m prone to wander,
Altering the straight,
Heading straight o’er yonder.
Home is where I’ll end,
Though I’ll journey prior,
Making arrows bend,
True enough when fired.

Roads for queens and kings,
Straight and with intention.
Puppets on their strings,
Bound to never question.
Curious as cats,
Driven on by query,
I will hang my hat,
When resolved and weary.

Make Your Heart At Home This Holiday

It’s Christmas time! Time to love one another, as always, but also to love yourself and be happy – also always, but many people need a nudge for that one too. Here’s a poem that was written for the people needing just a bit of love to feel good about themselves, and a suggestion that such love can come from yourself. So, friends, “Make Your Heart At Home” and make yourselves happy. Happy holidays.

Make Your Heart At Home

The home is where the heart is,
Your heart is in your self,
So make yourself at home,
And make yourself at health.
Be kind to your own body,
Your skin deep to your bones,
And love yourself quite wholly,
And make your heart at home.

For home’s the only place,
To be just as you are,

Where you don’t need directions,
Nor need you travel far.
So make your home accepting,
And give yourself a rest,
Please know and love your home and heart,
And know, Love, you are blessed.

Celestial Bodies and Termite Mounds

There are two types of writing. Sometimes you’ve got to labour away at something and force it out, and other times the idea forces itself out of you, and all you had to do is put pen to paper. As Sarah Kay charmingly describes it, writing a poem is like pooping; if it’s in you, it has to come out, whether it’s easy or difficult.

Free-writing has been brought to my attention on several occasions recently, and I found myself increasingly appreciating the idea of the technique. Writing without thinking for a period of time will inevitably spout the words of your subconscious. But then, all my early poems tended to be similar to a first draft of free verse. Uneducated technique aside, there was something in those poems that relieved me. Clearly, writing to write was doing something.

In addition to being a useful way of siphoning through one’s foremost thoughts to important things underneath, free-writing is a great way to pour out everything in your head about a certain topic. This is particularly true when a theme for a piece of writing is floating around; it creates a mass of words, phrases, images, and essentially the building blocks with which to construct a poem.

When I was in Namibia, the full moon and Milky Way was so bright that you could walk through the night without any artificial light and find your way. In fact, I stayed in a place with such little light pollution that shooting stars became a common occurrence to me. When these two realities coincided on the same night, I threw myself upon a termite mound at 10PM, opened up my notebook, and poured out my heart. I’ve since decided that it was this bad idea that led to me needing glasses, but who knows!

The result came out like free verse. However, there was a beginning to my thoughts, a middle, and an end, and some solid themes. Shortly after, I re-wrote that mass of words and ideas into this poem that I’ll share with you. This second version had a more structured approach, an iambic rhythm, and ABABB rhyming scheme, but still flowed relatively easily from me. I never wrote it up as I assumed I would edit it, but I haven’t done so because it’s a snapshot of my thoughts at that time. It seems that it was something I felt deeply, though perhaps consciously tried to avoid. Anyhow, this poem is called “This Shooting Star”. Hope you enjoy.

This Shooting Star

My heart is lost amid the night,
As every star must soon depart,
For love does fly when borne so light,
When fishing deep among the stars,
Oh woe, my sorry, senseless heart.

The darkness now is not so deep,
Tonight my shadow bears no harm,
This sleeping scape I beg will keep,
For if the third time has its charm,
I’d wish upon this shooting star.

Desires have died where nothing grew,
But here the flowers grow from storms,
Therefore tonight I dream anew,
Of sleeping ‘til my own new dawn,
When both my days and heart are warm.

I beg these sentinels take heed,
As, falling, now my heart is found,
And open to my lonely need:
To catch it as it plummets down,
Before it dies upon the ground.

Indulge me, will my tree not bloom?
My sorry heart have gladness known?
My only friend remain the moon,
Who followed me here, far from home,
Pretending he too is alone?

His kind and kin nearby reside,
Some old have cleaned themselves, I see,
Though new have pushed them far aside,
This hardened, wary company,
But still my old friend welcomes me.

His wintercoat welcomes my words,
And smile illuminates my page.
I bleed the while he grants me nerve,
He reads for pleasure all my pain,
Then fades ‘til I can’t read again.

So grant me that my tree may bloom,
If ink and blood may fuel this heart,
Indulge me, my old friend, the moon,
And heed what can’t these deafest stars,
Let not this be the way we part.

I know dreams must away with light,
And though I know I’d hold her fast,
I’d let her go as ends the night,
For nothing good can truly last,
So at that time, I’ll let her pass.

But cruel clouds rise to join the moon,
Eclipsing him and all his light.
I know he will return quite soon,
And this he will with all his fight.
Until then, there is only night.

A star can only fall so far,
‘til it cannot be seen at all,
And disappears into the dark,
To live on, hushed, invisible,
So how far then can my heart fall?

Discuss The Differences Between Conservation And Tea Parties

Today I sat an exam and managed to slip in some facts about Bertie the Last Black Rhino (or what he represents at least), and also some cheetah and livestock guarding dog facts. It’s amazing how deeply ingrained these things can be when you give a thirty minute talk on them 60 times. I’m sure the falling in love with the animals also helps. So after being serious about animals, I came home and finished editing a poem I started a while ago… about animals. Bit of a busman’s holiday, really. However, this is a bit less serious. It’s a long one, but I’m proud of it, and it gets silly and fun as it goes on. This is “Mary’s Tea Party”.

Mary’s Tea Party

“Oh Mary, my sweet, won’t you come in to eat!
But it’s hot now, so don’t you be tardy!”
So Mary got up, and replacing her cup,
She abandoned her garden tea party.

The Hog in the bush gave his neighbour a push,
And the Frog found himself quite misplaced,
But once his great eyes had espied the surprise,
He was cured in no time of disgrace.

He called to his friends, the chin-wagging old Hens,
And demanded that they spread the word:
“A party for us is a great deal of fuss,
So this message just has to be heard!”

The Hens’ eyes grew bright, with the gossip’s delight,
And declared themselves up to the task.
So rushing the Rooster, they blurted “Hey, you sir,
A favour of you we must ask…”

He opened his beak, and these words did he speak:
“All my dear fellow creatures and beasts,
Come one and come all, each who may hear this call,
For today we’ve a glorious feast!”

Each beast and each bird in the whole grounds had heard,
From the gardens way back to the stables.
It was merely minutes, ‘til everyone in it,
Was gathered and squeezed the table.

The Horse, but of course, was the first to have forced,
Her own way to the front of the party.
As she made her way, she obtained bales of hay,
And she neighed oh so hale and hearty.

When next the Peacock came declaring his shock,
Seeking after who ruined his nap,
The hens took his wing, and sweet words did they sing,
And so that was the end of all that.

Then third came the Goat, in his glittering coat,
And he made his way into the yard.
To rest his sore feet, he sat down with a bleat,
And proclaimed that he sorely was starved.

Soon after the call, the whole table was full,
And each animal sat down to dine,
With wings and with claws, and with hooves and with paws,
This buffet in no way was refined.

The wee Millipede, in his manner of greed,
Had a cup in each one of his hands,
But nobody cared, once the melodies blared,
From all five of the Fox-trot brass band.

The raving old Rabbit had one awful habit;
He’d overly sugar his tea.
If one were to grab it, he’d scream “You can’t have it,
As all of this sugar’s for me!”

The troublesome Crow could not simply let go,
Of her chance when the Rabbit was turned.
He was unaware, as she pecked at his hair,
But his tea choked him when he returned.

The Snail thought rubbish, that he became sluggish,
But he was too full-up to stand.
And sore was the Slug, when there were no more mugs,
For he came a lot later than planned.

The Magpie cared not for the whistling teapots,
Only silverware could make her swoon,
So nobody’s tea could be stirred because she,
Had by then stolen all of the spoons.

Meanwhile with breath baited, the Badger had waited,
For now his grand scheme had been set.
He said not a word about any dessert,
Every sweet surely would be his yet.

The poorly Grass-Snake was to make the mistake;
She had taken a cake for her own.
In jam they were smothered, so ants had them covered;
The Badger had every scone.

The swan, to the goose, had said “Let’s make a truce,
And ignore all of this obscene ruckus.”
But standing wide-eyed, the goose flung his wings wide,
And he spilled both the Hare and the hummus.

The Squirrel was new to all this, it is true,
And she chewed her way through her own saucer.
When asked if she knew what it was she should do,
She then boldly replied, “Oh, of course, sir.”

But what happened next, not a soul would have guessed:
Mary’s dog had come hurtling in.
They jumped in a panic, and all became manic;
The whole party was whirling like wind.

Just when she had heard, the poor, nervous Blackbird,
She began to both cough and to splutter,
The Dove gave a whack on the poor Blackbird’s back,
But her beak ended up in the butter.

The Horse gave a jump, and she spilled sugar lumps,
And the Rabbit, at last, lost his mind.
So faster than quick, he delivered a kick,
But it fell on the Hedgehog’s behind.

He shot from the table as fast as was able,
And doing so knocked down a chair,
But with all the clamour, and Rabbit’s loud stammers,
Nobody realised it was there.

The poor mother Duck was quite flush out of luck,
When she tripped and spilt all of her tea.
Worse luck even still had the Goat for the spill,
Was to land on his glittering sleeve.

With many a bleat, he was quick on his feet,
And began to chase after the Duck.
The Duck quickly fled through a hole in the shed,
And in which the Goat found himself stuck.

The Snake saw his chance, and he hid in the plants,
For the Badger could simply not see.
The badger was tripped, and away the snake slipped.
It was quite the full menagerie.

When Mary returned, she was full of concern,
For the noise had disturbed her nice lunch,
There was naught to see, but a ruined party,
And the last of the troublesome bunch.

Old Robin Red-breast had sat down for a rest,
But had found himself captured red-handed.
The Thrush in a rush, had flown off with a hush,
And the Frog found his mob all disbanded.

“Oh, my! It is mean,” wailed Mary. “This scene,
Is a mess that I’d rather not see!
I’d be sorely bereft, had I not found they left,
Just one small cup of tea here for me.”