In This World

By J. C. Robertson

This is a world of only clues where people turn their back and look

at an empty circle, dark spaces, or downward into an abyss.

We are offered small windows,we are allowed to catch a glimpse.

This world is a swirl of empty space from the future or the past

where faces hang like palimpsest.

In this world the people never face us.

If they did, they wouldn’t smile, they wouldn’t speak

they wouldn’t make a fuss, they probably wouldn’t even notice us.

They are too busy with problems to be solved. These people put on overalls.

Everything is empirical research. The scientists look innocent,

from some forties comic adventure strip. They get dressed up with diagrams,

present problems on a chalk board that keep us in the dark.

In this world there are no idyllic spots,

no leaves, no gentle breeze, just stumps of what were once trees.

The birds stop mid-air as if they no longer fly, with no memory of how or why.

In this world no one has fun, there is no sun, there is always work to be done.

And if a couple are out in summer gear, they look over an edge into an abyss.

In this world this is what sightseeing is.

This world is the nuclear age built from Victorian bric-à-brac

while a woman stands there like a question mark.

In this world there is a philosophy of what could be / should be / is

In this world there are no politics.

In this world there are few emotions. These people with their backs to us,

only ever coldly, calmly contemplate. (I do not think there is a god in this world.

I do not think they even have the word.)

This is a world which could be destroyed.

This is a world which doesn’t have.

This is a world which doesn’t have to have.

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