States of Poetry Series Two - Victoria | 'Creature' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

All those hominids stood around to watch,
scratching their heads and hairy armpits.
So like them it was,
                                     well, sort of
but ever so puny, while more or less rosepink.
Was this bod something to do with a future?
Maybe the rich grasses and coconuts
had a kind of blessing to grant him;
nightshade and garlic somehow able
to shield him from the big cats’
                                     ravenous prowling.
They wondered what it could possibly
grow into, from this pipsqueak. But something
or other was in the balmy air.
They didn’t have a word for gods,
not the merest monosyllable,
but alien shaggy spines
were kind of tingling there, like electricity.
Male or female, the lumpen hominids
didn’t want to attack this new thing
of unattractive flesh.
                                     Perhaps you could feel
it was filled with
what they would come to call a magic spell,
harsh millennia later on.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry. His most recent books of verse include The Universe Looks Down (2005), and Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw (2008). He is Professor Emeritus in Culture and Communication at Melbourne University. Also a public speaker and commentator on the visual arts, he specialises in ‘artists’ books’. Read It Again, a volume of critical essays, was published in 2005. Among other awards he has won the Dublin Prize for Arts and Sciences and the Christopher Brennan Award for Literature. His latest book is Rondo (2018).