These poems were written as part of Darwin200 or the ‘Darwin Project’. Darwin200 addressed the impact of Darwin’s ideas about evolution, as well as his approach to the understanding of the natural world. Young Identity poets reflected these issues in their work.

From dust or ape-men?
Joshua Van-Cook

It is absolutely innate in humans,
To create something superior to themselves,
Thus stories have been formed of deities,
Dragons, spectres, angels and elves

However stories are not the limit,
The genetic drift current forms our children,
In evolutionary terms, they adapt,
In order to make the most of the changing world we’re in

As we look, so open minded on our future,
Why then is it so different to delve into the past,
Look from what and whom we’ve adapted and mutated,
Accepting the logical result from the knowledge we’ve amassed

Some look disparagingly on the other children of our ancestor,
Yet the truth of its existence is an absolute must,
For there is more chance of being sired by another living being,
Than by a few specks of inanimate dust

Evolution happened, still happens,
And will continue to occur,
It is how we all grow,
And how past boundaries become blurred

You need not feel sombre due to this,
For such understanding should surely thrill,
All the more to ponder,
As to how our lives we should fulfil

Humbled by the new grounds we’ve found,
Removed of the smugness of a second life,
And that God won’t suddenly appear to save the world,
No deus-ex-machina in our times of strife

Hopefully, fore-armed with this knowledge,
We’ll have the vision and the wit to see,
We can’t expect to live it out,
Should we envelop the world in nuclear catastrophe

Evolution, we now know is a fact,
No theory nor mere hypothesis,
Despite what God, His priest and King say,
As we look into the finer points we may have missed

All in all, a good thing I’d say,
Puts into perspective the kind of urgency,
How essential that our children don’t repeat our past mistakes,
That tradition makes only too plain to see.

Keisha Thompson

Love and Lust

He used his left hand to sign the bill
Pulled mine to cupid bow with his right
Didn’t pool ideas of children until –
I saw a straight nose, bronze curls not too tight
Love and lust in Capoeira, when he rolled his tongue at will
Inchoate? Sibilance fought my lisp will all its might
When make-up and skin, hair and sheen had to distil
My chances were moulded into to an osmium kite

His girlfriend after me was round with an Afro,
didn’t shave anywhere, not even armpits.
She challenged chewing gum, heels and Dior
like her birthmark.
I felt ugly and misfit,
left in the ambidextrous drag of love’s flow
survival of the fittest,
no consensus on who is fit

Hard to reason with the evolving world

Hard to reason with the evolving world
When I look out the window,
the spirit of destruction looks back
Retina fatigued by flat intimacy of accelerated technology
Pushing me to adapt, find frames that fit my face

Itchy, Swollen, Red,
Not blinking
Straining to look at the world
Stirring seasons are reeling into another
Like the film of a broken cassette
Pushing for change

Bethnay Hermitt


I wonder what your face looked like
What colour were your eyes
Did they twitch at night
Or entice dreams with slow blinks
The photos and portraits don’t capture this or your thoughts
Just a face, trapped in an age
With pupils transfixed on something the photographer can’t detain
The effect of your curiosity has spread over the earth like wild fires
They dissect more than birds now
Did you realise your intelligent questioning would evolve
Survive and become something so sacred and complex
Burning past conceptions
Birthing a new age in beliefs
Did you foresee any of this.
I don’t think you knew
That your view would influence so many
Or that your theory would remain a spice in our culture
Ink on paper, mapping a way through life
Your words the flavour of bland debates
I think you developed your wrinkles early
And the long beard – evidence of stolen time not fashion.
But still, we thank you.

Morning Flaws

Gravity is elsewhere
It’s just me, myself and my eyes
And we wake up squinting at a world
That has morphed itself into unrecognisable shapes
Stretching my arm out towards the window
My eyes vaguely see fingers trying to flick at curtain drapes
But I’m in bed So they miss and
Everything is nebulous in this room of dizzy spells
Blue grey mountains are soft under toes
They must be clothes I guess standing stumbling
Towards the curtain, certain
My dimensions are now right.
My left arm extends across my body
Reaching for the pull
I miss. Again
Not by much, I feel the fabric brush my finger tips as I fall
But enough to remind me of my glasses
My spectacles
My flaws

Human Caterpillar

Even though my bone structure doesn’t predict it
I want to be a butterfly
I want colour prints, specks of fire and white for wings
I want to poise and wait for the wind to take me away
flying, across blue washed skies
I want to cocoon myself up in a bed of silk idealisms
To be wrapped in a duvet
Let me keep my childhood mystery please
I wouldn’t hint or warn of what was to come
I would just become unhitched from the norms of modern society
Fluttering and darting

My bone structure doesn’t predict this
But I’m full and
I want to be a butterfly
I want to be a butterfly
and not die this winter.