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The Time Machine

May 2003, no. 251

The Time Machine

May 2003, no. 251

It’s not by that contraption, nor inside

            The worm holes to be bored

Through outer darkness to its farthest reaches,

That this tight knot of noon will be untied

And loose the morning’s bonded hours toward

The otherwhile your constant prayer beseeches.


Who would believe that now – poised plainly over

            The harbour’s wintry haze,

As far off in the littered blue inane

Mir, error-prone, still manages to hover,

While west and north, despite the massed berets,

The old deals are all brokered yet again;


Shares do their magic on the stock exchange;

            While to consolidate

Some fly-blown tyranny the usual slaughters

Fall to the usual goon squads to arrange;

While sleek yachts ride, as though absolved of weight,

Tinkling upon the pleasure-blinded waters;


While mountains stand still as their photographs

             Somewhere beyond the edges

Of cities that turn earth to neighbourhood;

And though the papers press their epitaphs,

Babies will drink the white lie that milk pledges

And sleep on it, dreaming the world is good –


Who would believe this moment now might hold

            A past remoter than

The pyramids? that like the bright, oblique

Plume of the comet falling unforetold,

An era that is yet unknown to man

Comes plunging into the middle of next week?


Wisps writhe above the river’s fancied rind

           As though it might soon boil.

Patience. Be still. Your wishes will appear.

That pebble in your shoe; what lies behind

The hand clasped to your forehead; the blue voile

Of the elapsing vista: name your year.

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