Ida the Fossil (1)

by phillipmedhurst


Scientists have discovered an exquisitely preserved ancient primate fossil that they believe forms a crucial “missing link” between our own evolutionary branch of life and the rest of the animal kingdom.The 47million-year-old primate – named “Ida” – has been hailed as the fossil equivalent of a “Rosetta Stone” for understanding the critical early stages of primate evolution. The Guardian 2009


In this, the Sabbath vigil of my life, I found

Myself prostrate, all helpless on the ground,

For sin had made me blind. It was as though

Throughout my life I strayed, and did not know

Where I was going or from whence I came,

Just led by some ephemeral, dancing flame

Snuffed out once it was glimpsed, and dead to sight

Before it could be fixed – the moth’s mad flight

More full of rhyme and reason than my life,

Now so replete with grief and full of strife.


I’ve looked at ev’ry explanation that

There is of life, and none come near to sat-

Isfying all criteria of truth,

Or come up with the necessary proof

That they’re the answer. All require a leap

Into absurdity – alright for sheep

Who find their comfort in conformity,

But useless for all lone-wolves such as me.

There is a way to make it work, of course,

Which is: to put on blinkers like a horse


And go just where the drayman tells you to.

But in your heart you’ll know it to be true

That, even though you’re willing to work hard,

All roads end up inside the knacker’s yard.

“Arbeit macht frei” is true to a degree,

But not the way we wish that it could be.

A product of conception, you will be

From life aborted, howe’er belatedly.

Meanwhile, you strive where chance gives no reward:

Your feeble hand upturns an empty gourd.

And so our ends are like a jelly-fish:

Sans spine, sans brain, a wat’ry upturned dish

Borne on through vastness we cannot perceive,

Still less control enough to steer. Believe

We may, but proof of purpose or a plan

Revealed consistently denied, we can

Not fabricate from our own stuff, for we

Are empty, blind, insensate, falsely free,

Borne on by tides, by winds, by currents, all

Uncomprehended, landing where we fall.


The birds seem free; no wonder, then, the dove

Is symbol of God’s Spirit from above.

But what became of all the other kinds

Of beasts not taken to the ark? – They died.

So we: into oblivion. We: free

To die and be forgotten; the elect

Disclose God’s will to naturally select.

Just like a snail I leave a glistening train

To be erased by the first fall of rain;

Or, like the scarab, roll a ball of dung,

My pyramid for when I have no tongue

To extol my own deeds. For like that bird,

(Though it may seem unlikely and absurd)

The phœnix, from the ashes (I surmise)

Once fire is spent I presently will rise

To live again; although we know within

That in this legend ashes are the “fin”.