The Paralytic Child
After 'Paralytic child walking on all fours' 1961

          -On the day when
          man he fell back onto all fours,
and crawled,
         the seed for you was born:
         two failed cells dividing in
                                             the mud,
to produce what here, now,
today, we see here
                      before us:
the lone spent eel of

                               a child; without
                               explanation, world,
or tail...
         crawling into and out
         of yourself, as if your
         he had removed it your backbone
                                like a pick
         from between his teeth.
         For you have been born

         Of all human deaths,
even, yes,
         those wormeaten parts of you,
         (still visible)  that died,
when, in you, a religion lost its faith...
         -yet half-gutted, and
         partly atrophied, it
as though
you have just crawled clear of heaven?

           (before God he removed it
           the face-mask of Darwin)
           for devolution has forced
you free
            of the membrane of history;
-The poise and the grace and the gait
of all ancient men,
            by the one
            single revolution of your hip;

            species after species,
by the portent
                      in your eye...
-So, is there perhaps some undiscovered
tribe or people,
             who, in their pockets,
still guard (religiously)
                      a small wooden fetish
                      in your image?
             carved perhaps in the first

              few days after the passing
of sin, once,
               in a church's vault, it was
               the microfilm of a gospel
               too supernatural to view?
-Yet having now
               already seen
the last earth-bound creature crash
into the sea,
               and the eagle grow ill

               with flying, and with all
of the languages of the world now
               but unwanted pulp at
the back of
                 your throat,
towards what new destination can
you imagine
                 yourself now heading?
                -You our planet's only
                anthropological first-born!
(as, in your mind, when you move,

the unused
                 flesh from your limbs,
                it is hurled like clumps
of wet clay
                 onto some celestial grid,
where, unrolled again, it is stretched
                 back onto fresh bone...)
-So what in Nietzsche's or plato's mind
prevents you
                 from ever again standing up?
                 Your body that forces every

extraneous muscle to twitch, day after
                day, when as a child beast,
You crawl, crawl
                  out from the landscapes,
 into the now abandoned churches,
                  temples of the world,
where your 'presence' it explodes like
spittle onto the icon's lips! and where
the tilt of
                your head it drops all known
                stares to the ground...


Until on that day
when your death               
                   it gives birth finally to our
                   last belated truth,
on some dusty and deserted road,
or high plateau,
                   where, in mournful rhetoric,
                   all past experience's of man
are resolved,
                   and never to be mentioned

     Paul Stubbs 2010