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Wednesday, 1 August 2012
THE NEXT BIG THING?
In fetid sewers below the city
the rats were mutating out of their skins.
Something had flicked a genetic switch -
and not, as an onlooker might have supposed,
the button to self-destruct.
Generations flew by
in the blink of an eye.
(The fruit fly was never so quick.)
Folks spoke of body clocks running amok
and totally out of control,
of rats on hind legs built like oaks
standing in serried rows,
of uniformed rats in tunic and trews
in crimson and lemon or turquoise hues.
Where their hair was formerly black or dun
they bristled with regimental pride.
From a casual look, you might not have seen
that the rats were now as blind as bats
with a bat-like capability
to "ping" themselves around.
From pops and pips, from pings and clicks
they'd evolved a grammar of sight.
No visual cortex had ever before
been battered by so much noise.
We could only have dreamt of the pictures they saw
had not an artist among them "seen"
and translated their world into paint.
(So different this one world, for them and for us!)
Another was doing the same to the walls -
graffiti alive and living well,
deep in the bowels of the earth.
A group in the corner was writng a play,
on a word-by-word basis inventing the forms
as symbols for now of their speech -
the lost gift of literature back in the world.
A guy like a colonel was making new tools;
two or three in a corner were planting out seeds
in beer crates containing a great range of muck.
One had a robot powered by heat
pumped straight from a coal fire in the brain.
Our experts said
that what we saw
was Nature lining up
THE NEXT BIG THING to take our place
when finally we've gone -
but that of course, was well before
the great flood drowned them all.
I am linking this to dVerse Poets' OpenLink Night #55