by Paul Mills
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In writing that is fresh, dramatic and imaginative, Paul Mills reflects on the story of human evolution. The confidence and skills of an experienced writer enable him to inhabit and explore ideas involved in deep time and present the reader with a view of humanity both affecting and broad in scope.
“…a wide-ranging pamphlet with a relaxed, inclusive long view. Poems are playful, thematically interconnected, in dialogue with each other and, as a whole, make for a collection that is both within reach and yet somehow also slipping beyond.
…the past of this book, spun so continuously into the present wherein future slides, is constantly searched for, found, unmade, remade – imagined and set against the land-and-air-scapes of these poems. They have the sense of being unearthed, disturbed in the rubble of the archaeological dig, as if the language, the questions, images and ideas have been upturned, shown the light for the first time, along with creatures in the poems, still settling amongst the remains.” Sarah Hymas, Sabotage
From the Palaeolithic
dawn frost the heating on
and condensation already formed on the kitchen’s inside glass
beginning to slide trickle in loops
spirals spurs wriggling forest vines and a figure
between branches climbing out coming through
hauling himself forward into a clearing
I’ve seen him before imagined him
one of the first coming into Europe
out of the east following rivers and sunsets
climbing a peak of rocks above the Danube
he stands in the dripping pane looking around him
testing the view where rafts are working upstream
generations after him will reach ice
will they survive the ferocities of the tundra?
he is one of the first sons of the mother who is our mother
he will never be rich never be poor
through him behind him my garden
beginning to shine an apple tree where a wren flits
how far will his thoughts carry him?
in his domed skull are all the tools he’ll need
to survive in paradise and demolish it
come no further I ought to say go back!
he faces me between pathways of water
will he begin to melt when the frost melts?
he is disfiguring now in the heat of the kitchen
divers reaching a deep recess will find his skull
scattered among bones of cave bears