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Monday 11 March 2013
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.