Heart Pounding

Fight or flight has been embedded in the minds of humans throughout the evolutionary process. It is a split second decision that humans make subconsciously. Humans make the decision to run from danger, or to stand tall and fight against it. When looking through a Darwinist lens this evolutionary trait is seen repeatedly in the novel The Road. The father and son live in a world of danger. From cannibals to cold weather they are never safe. There are times they need to run and hide from cannibals. Other times there is no chance to run, they need to fight. They are starving and low are ammunition. They cannot run forever, yet they cannot fight forever. They walk a fine line between life and death. This Pleistocene instinct is what helps keep both, father and son alive on their journey down south. In my found poem I tried to embody the evolutionary instinct of fight or flight. This poem is just a glimpse into the horrid lives of the father and his son.


Heart Pounding


— found poem by Ian Hislop, excerpted from The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (2006). New York: Vintage, pp. 49, 66, 67, 60, 61, 62, 107, 110, 112, 115, 128, 129, 155, 169, 195.


Hurry, run

Terrified, frail and coughing

Hearts pounding

Father and son run


Crouched over

Listening for noises

Shh, he said

Scared and weak

They move on

Down the long black road


Freezing, Shivering and starving

Father and son lay in the cold darkness


More noises

A man comes forward


Pistol cocked

He fired, it cracked violently

The man dropped to the ground

The father lifted the boy


Hurry, run

Terrified, frail and coughing

Hearts pounding

Father and son run


McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print


Written by, Ian Hislop


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