Living Fossil

Something tells me I should,

I must, it insists, try to get a handle on this,

And turn my current state into something,

Something more conducive to ‘actions’,

Actions that at least some others might think ‘productive’.


Yet here I am, pencil in hand,

Listening to Hildegard von Bingen — well,

Not Hildegard specifically,

But a choir singing her inspired 900 year old visions-turned-angelic-verse

And scribbling on paper… as perhaps she did with quill?


The waves have been strong this week,

Tilting my nose up, lifting me, and making me inhale, deeply,

In awe of the power I can feel passing beneath

Holding me in zero-gravity where my feet can’t reach the ground,

For long moments, and then, crashing me down, onto the sand

Where trapped oceans pour salty from my eyes,

To drain back to the sea.


On the land it seems firmer than the sea

Yet saturated shifting sands deceive, and mine are certainly shifting.

What was, once, ‘solid’, is long forgotten,

As the holes in me have changed, from porous to permeable,

And in these “now’s” more flows through me than resides within,

And the walls keep crumbling… collapsing around me.


These once-filled cavities, unconnected,

At least provided some certainty

For me, and others, who knew where they were and how to tap them.

Perhaps, like oil reserves, I reached ‘peak production’ some years back

And now anyone searching, exploring the me that once was,

Those old reserves, must dig deeper for disappointing returns,

For those fossil remnants are fewer and farther between?

And, with less energy returned on energy invested

Is it any wonder some are giving up the search?


And yet, the more permeable matrix, me now, still holds some promise…

Like Hildegard’s uplifting tones,

These newfound flows, this capacity to channel

Has yielded this poem, in less time than it takes to sing a canticle.

The words, like notes pouring from me — clearer, more certain, more bell-like in their tone —

Far surpass the unrefined crude some still search for in me — for those resources have dwindled, and I’ve changed energy source.


I can only hope, with trust but no certainty,

That these newfound flows are renewable,

Sustainable, replenishing and life-giving

To those that seek my energies;

Life-affirming, like nature,

Not a fossil snapshot of who I was,

For that me is almost buried,

In the shifting, collapsing, compressing, releasing

Sands of time.


Neil Davidson 1 February 2019