“To Darwin in his Garden” by Arliss Ryan

To Darwin in his Garden
by Arliss Ryan

Did you stagger
that day the truth burst its bonds
and launched you from your desk
Eyes blinking
chest exploding at the enormity
of the knowledge that possessed you?

Years of suspicion and data finally evolved into facts:
Islands that rose and fell
Seashells thrust a mile into the sky
Endless random errors
Until this finch got that bill
That tortoise this shell

Gasping for air and propelled from your study
into the cold English rain
You stared thunderstruck
at a different garden than Genesis proclaimed

You knew,
and how could any man keep it secret?
Once thought, it could not be ignored or denied
Once believed, it could not be disavowed

On the desk in the house you left behind
lay the documentation
A twenty years’ task pursued in trepidation
of the calamitous upheaval that must follow

And all this you encompassed as you stood in the rain


Artist: Arliss Ryan

Genre: Poetry

Bio: Originally from Detroit, Michigan, I have lived in St. Augustine since 2003. I hold a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and am the author of six novels, plus numerous short stories and essays published in literary journals and magazines. Lately, I’ve found myself writing poetry. I love words. I love the shape and sound of them and the way they look on paper. I love their power.

Piece: To Darwin in his Garden

Piece Description: In my next life I plan to come back as Charles Darwin. The poem is my imagining of his eureka moment

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