22 November 2007

"I boarded the Beagle, broken like my home."

Last month, Darwin200 partners were treated to a poetry slam about Darwin by young poets from The Roundhouse Studios in London. The poets drew their inspiration from those elements of Darwin's life that we Beagle Projecteers tend to champion: his youthful vigour, his love of the natural world, his humanity and, above all, his spirit of physical and intellectual adventure. Here is the second of four Darwin-inspired poems by young Londoners (the first is here)....


my father spoke louder than he listened.
ripples coloured the walls with shame
as I became a grimace smeared across abrupt lips,
his dreams; veiny knots tangled in my stomach.

swallowing the screaming child
in my throat, silence
stung like blisters, threatening to burst
from the heat of his words

turning away, back arced
into the shape of a ?
I boarded the Beagle, broken
like my home.

with blind feet
in the belly of the Andes
sea drums sneering at the stench of my guts
I buried my father's fury
deep, like my hammer
into the earth

pounding, with the rhythm of a tribesman
a chorus begun,
sung in parables of bone and flesh.

the rest,
is history; her shadow
bathing in formaldehyde.

by Natacha Bryan