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Monday, 11 March 2013

Double Whammy


As if the world was made of light
and scans and x-rays taken of
the people we had known in solid state
who'd walked about like you and I --
as we had once -- but now
could pass through trees that had become
mere shadows from a bloated sun...

The first who'd noticed it, I think: my gran.
It's getting bigger, son, she said.
Of course it is Gran! they replied,
the way we always did, to humour her.
I wasn't sure, so measured it. A small
black disc stuck to my bedroom window pane.
If I stood on the paint stain on the rug
the disc exactly covered it. Two days
later though, the sun was rimming it.
I knew I shouldn't look, not even with
dark glasses, but I did. How could I not?

The story went around our block: the sun
would burst. Folk were being driven mad.
Six in the next street had topped themselves.
Even the pets were acting strangely,
our dog attacked the stump of the old elm,
and next door's cat had started burrowing --
as if it might have dug itself salvation.

Stay indoors, son, my Gran said.
Out there are people made of straw,
fodder for the fires of hell, like Guys
on bonfire night. We'll all end up
too near the fire. Gone before our time.

In time the sky became a picture of the sort
that people travel half way round the world
to see: like Northern Lights with Grandma's
bonfire night display thrown in. Rockets
I saw among the waves of green, and Catherine
wheels to liven up the sheets that spiralled
out of sight. The sun is getting closer,
I'll be bound!
Gran said. Or else it's
getting bigger, as I thought. Or else it's both!


And she was right. The skins of people in
the streets were scorched, the trees
had flaking bark. Burnt wood or looking
like gran's knitting: plain or pearl,
or both, but caked in soot. And then
the clock was out. Day was night and night
was day. The radio had packed up long ago.
The television, broadband, phones of every kind.
We had to work it out from basics for ourselves.
Gran got there first. The sun had passed us by.
Or we'd skipped it... that's more likely, seems to me.
Some clever people in the future I don't doubt,
will work out how that came to be... or maybe
not. More likely now we wait eternal night.
The ice age and the death of llght, heat, warmth,
and all that made this planet what it was.


I am submitting this poem to Poets United Poetry Pantry.

16 comments:

kaykuala said...

What would happen if nature were to act crazy. Never thought about it. For a start as rightly said,to look the sun right in the eye could be disastrous. Butwe wouldn't know otherwise! Piercing thoughts Dave! Nicely!

Hank

Brian Miller said...

wow....sounds quite apocalyptic...signs and wonders and sci fi...could be the opening to a fascinating story.....i want more dave...

Ygraine said...

Wow...what a chilling tale, Dave!
I agree with Brian, I would like much more of this.
I think you have the makings of a fabulous sci-fi story here.
I am totally hooked!:)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This most definitely has an apocalyptic feel...I love it!!

McGuffy Ann said...

Reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, classic Sci-Fi, well done.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love the premise of this poem, and the gentle words of advice from Granny juxtaposed with the cataclysmic event described.

anthonynorth said...

The comments above say it all. Chilling, eschatological - great.

Kim Nelson said...

Gran... wisdom filled. And the outside world so frightening.

manicddaily said...

Yikes. It is so wonderfully matter-of-fact - I love the image of you standing on a stain in a rug - the science and hominess of it in the mix of all of this. Really interesting - if kind of awful! Agh. k.

Poet Laundry said...

I (heart) Gran! A fantastic read Dave, I really enjoyed it.

Claudia said...

oh my goodness...what a perspective.. how do you come up with such ideas...there must be some of your grandma's genes in you...smiles

The Elephant's Child said...

Such a frightening reality.

David Cranmer said...

"The skins of people in
the streets were scorched, the trees
had flaking bark." Sharp images, Dave.

Mary said...

This awes me, Dave! I agree with Brian...sounds apocalyptic.

Dave King said...

Hank
But why is it so much fun to wonder what would happen if nature went crazy?
Thanks hank.

Brian
Funny you should say this... more had just started to ferment somewhere at the back of my brain.

Ygraine
I shall try to oblige, though I might have written it differently had I known it was to go on!

Optimistic Existentialist
Thanks for saying so.

McGuffy Ann
Hi, a warm welcome to you and much thanks for visiting and for your kind words.

Kerry
Hi! Good to have you visiting and to have your very positive and supportive comments. Thank you for them.

anthonynorth
Even so your additional words are much valued.

Kim
Yes, it somehow seemed it might well be that way.

manicddaily
Thank you for these comments. You so often seem to see things the way I hoped they might be seen.

Poet Laundry
Hi, thanks for visiting and for your warm words. I'm glad Gran is proving so popular.

Claudia
That's the nicest thing I've had said to me all day! Thanks.

The Elephant's Child
Yes, one of the more extreme "What ifs?"

David
Thanks, I really appreciate knowing what folk think.

Mary
Thanks. I find it good that it is felt to have this character









Jenny Woolf said...

What an amazing, surreal, science fictiony poem. I felt quite alarmed at the idea of the sun appearing round the edge of the cutout. Help!
Great poem, of course, as usual.