homo sapiens beta 3: plausible fish


Proteus, the prototype human, lived in Gondwanaland with selected Jurassic creatures. Instead of audible words, glowing shapes emanated from his mouth whenever he tried to talk. Part one is here.

If I could only speak,
engage in conversation
with anyone at all,
I’d be sage and silent.

Archie, the archaeopteryx
that Proteus addressed,
ignored the paper lantern lights
floating from his mouth.

I wouldn’t babble, spout
immaterial lunar permutations
concerning plausible fish,
or the iridescent creature
I recently remarked 
on the headland
by the ironsand beach.

My shadow biographer sets a fine example:
he’d never discuss Inconstant Street Park,
its dogs, their to-and-fro, the owners
and the owned, in and out of phase,

or the stray that follows him around,
his doppelgänger from the primeval void.

Always right on point, the both of us.

But come to think of it,
what was that unusual lifeform?
It shone so brightly by the sea,
like a house with a light inside.*


Proteus returned to the headland
with Archie perched upon his head,
and sought out the glowing being.

Archie swooped around the stranger,
no doubt hoping he could snip a tasty moth
attracted by the light,
and Proteus emitted
a little visual conversation.

I hear the tygers
will burn symmetrically
in the jungle tonight.

An anachronism;
William Blake,
if I’m not mistaken.

Proteus was astounded.
The creature had understood him
and replied acoustically.

to continue

*half-hearted attempt to avoid anachronisms


Icarus please come home (part above). Made from the sun and clouds by VEE, the visual evolution engine.

32 thoughts on “homo sapiens beta 3: plausible fish

  1. What’s it like inside that amazing mind of yours, Steve? To have such an imagination. Or reality, I’m not sure which. They say some people’s dreams are others’ reality, or vice versa. I’d have to think about a name for myself if I were a dinosaur, and what I’d have come out of my mouth each time I try to speak. Star dust sounds magical. (But nothing like your writing.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well Annie, once I used my mind to work out whether my socks matched, whether the kookaburras really were talking to me, or whether I should cook a chicken in the dishwasher. But now, I am trying to work out what I would call myself if I were a dinosaur. I have realised, thanks to you, that this is a fundamentally important question I have neglected.

      Stardust is magical because we are made of it. Anyway we do have some choice about what comes out of our mouths; sometimes I wish that I exercised that choice a little more skilfully.

      Maybe it’s true about some of our dreams (others’ reality), but I know for sure that those other people have different dreams. I don’t think we ever “live the dream.” It’s who we are, and without any more dreams, who would we be?

      PS: Thanks so much for your kind words.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. That was me, and I MEANT to say;

    “It shone so brightly by the sea,
    like a house with a light inside.”

    Not half-hearted, rather it is brilliant a brilliant description in this embedded couplet, and I think the focal point of this section. Lona Gynt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for highlighting those lines, Lona. True confession time. Chico Barque’s song “Tanto Amar” has some lyrics which roughly translate as:

      In the sum of her gaze/I’ll know myself completely/if I was born to face the sea/or the lighthouse.

      I loved the idea, and I recycled it in a short story “Inconstant Light” which was published somewhere or other, and a poem “Sereia” on this site, and that’s what I was thinking of again here. Fortunately recycling is good for the environment.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Sobhana. I’m guessing you were one of the “someones” again. 🙂 I’m sure visual conversation would be fun; actually you could do it with a light organ that turns sounds into light. And thanks for mentioning the VEE art. I was pleased with it, partly because it is a bit different, combining full abstract with realistic imagery

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just think of how different this world would be if people spent more time being sage and silent than babbling about everything and nothing.
    I wonder if the glowing being looks like any of the glowing shapes emanating from Proteus’s mouth.
    Your creativity and imagination never cease to amaze me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • A good question about the babbling, for one thing there wouldn’t be as much on the internet, although I’m quite fond of babbling myself. 😸 Very perceptive of you, concerning the glowing being. I can say that without spoilers because I just posted the next instalment. Thank you, Magarisa.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. those Ironsands are magnificent! I loved their texture like the wind drew the formations, but I believe it rises up that way. you add a tangible in this story unlike the others before it seems want to establish a spatial connection between the elements. “If I could only speak” this phrase seemed so intentional not just to be grammatically correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gina. I do find that images and words seem to make some sort of feedback loop when I’m working on a post. And you’re right about the spatial connection. I have some very woolly ideas about where the narrative might be headed (no spoilers 🙂), and apart from that, locales like the one here, perhaps because of my own experiences, pop up regularly in my short stories (and dreams); speech and silence also fascinate me.


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