18th October 2021

Poets and writers evolve, hopefully. I wrote this poem about forty years ago when I was young and stupid. The person who used to read my poems at the time pointed out that a word existed for someone or something that had moved forward through a process of evolution and that was: evolved (not evoluted as I had written). Humans evolved from monkeys. I still feel my red-facedness.

I wrote Damned Electricity after moving to the French Alps into an apartment above a school. A small electricity pylon stood in the garden and carried power to the main village from a small dam. It was during my even-worse-poet-than-I-am-now period. I have great affection for the poem though. I hate to think of it laying at the bottom of the drawer not seeing the light of day. So here it is.

Damned Electricity and the Evoluted 
Spring 1982

When our garden was someone’s field
evoluted monkeys came to build
a tower of webbed steel

- a prop
for a high-voltage highway.

I have followed this highway
which passes over stable roofs,
and found at its beginning
a little iron dam
with limited capacity.

A little iron dam between
the bellies of two fat mountains
where pines grow together
like forests of tall green people

where you, great soulless thing
have been adopted
and I have not

– a little iron dam 
all wet with purpose.


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