I’ve got two (TWO!) prose poems for you tonight on the topic of time. I’ve been obsessed with Why Time Seems to Fly lately, which is an interactive visualization of how time passes in our lives. It’s strange, unsettling, and uplifting all at once.
Now onto the poetry. I read a lot of David Shumate in college. If I wanted to make you cry, I’d post “Shooting the Horse,” but I’m taking it easy on you.
One Hundred Years from Now – David Shumate
I’m sorry I won’t be around a hundred years from now. I’d like to see how it all turns out. What language most of you are speaking. What country is swaggering across the globe. I’m curious to know if your medicines cure what ails us now. And how intelligent your children are as they parachute down through the womb. Have you invented new vegetables? Have you trained spiders to do your bidding? Have baseball and opera merged into one melodic sport? A hundred years….My grandfather lived almost that long. The doctor who came to the farmhouse to deliver him arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. Do you still have horses?
High Water Mark – David Shumate
It’s hard to believe, but at one point the water rose to this level. No one had seen anything like it. People on rooftops. Cows and coffins floating through the streets. Prisoners carrying invalids from their rooms. The barkeeper consoling the preacher. A coon hound who showed up a month later forty miles downstream. And all that mud it left behind. You never forget times like those. They become part of who you are. You describe them to your grandchildren. But they think it’s just another tale in which animals talk and people live forever. I know it’s not the kind of thing you ought to say… But I wouldn’t mind seeing another good flood before I die. It’s been dry for decades. Next time I think I’ll just let go and drift downstream and see where I end up.