The human urge, 9 Sept

The human urge, 9 Sept

We were building wooden huts
around 400,000 years ago, before
we were quite we. So, what changed?

We have a want to construct, even castles on the sand.
History has swollen to palaces and barely held together,
but that’s for tourists. What about now?

We are finding young bones of Amarna, spinal injuries,
stunted growth, for the barbarity of monotheism.
The city was founded 1346 BCE, the same time sages

say Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
and Deuteronomy and the whole Torah (nearly 6,000 verses).
With just one god the problem is the hubris of certainty.


Wyn call out a warning (we still shout warnings of danger).
I stepped back to take a photograph of a construction,
close to the edge calving small seismic shocks into the water.

We stop for the ethereal avian choir who stop and stare
at an interloper, a scruffy Little Wattlebird singing back.
Up river, Sooty Oystercatchers become conjoined twins.

A noise twists me round, the surface has blistered excitedly,
cleanly, no puss or blood, hisses naturally, happens twice a day
the rinse. Strange to think water is so fluid yet so very strong.

I’m trying to think of a religion of water, not simply
purification, but worship like fire or the sun, or
the way children dam a stream to conquer nature.

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