Monday, 19 July 2010

Gerard Woodward, We Were Pedestrians (2005)

I'm sorry to have missed this when it first came out (and it's a shame that the SF prizegiving world seems to have missed it too). I read the following, a portion of a longer poem called 'Ecopoesis', in the Forward Collection for 2006, and was very struck by it. Put it this way: I can't think of a better piece of sciencefictional verse on an areoforming theme, and more to the point I could name a dozen novels and short stories that treat the topic less evocatively, memorably and brilliantly:
7. Looking Back

The last millionaires fell from the sky
A century ago. They brought with them
Sad stories of the lives they had left,
How a belief in unicorns and mermaids
Had revived, how the cities had been
Consumed by privet and laurel,
Of sickness, reforestation, wars of religion.

Our children listened entranced
And filled with longing to be
In the world of islands with all
Its rich, rewarding dangers.

Our atmosphere factories have begun
To take on something of the mystery
And charm of pyramids, though
They remind me more of coffee pots,
Or cafetières, and the pillowy mountains
Behind them with the croissant-shaped
Pebbles that strew their slopes always
Remind me that what we have made here
Is one vast room, world-sized,
Near whose ceiling two acorn
Moons float. Sofa hills. Lamp-stand mountain.
You have to keep a sense of proportion.

Last week the mirrors were ripped
To shreds as they re-entered the atmosphere,
And poured their mirrory rain over a field
The size of the state of Missouri.
The lit blog A Spaniard in the Works has the whole of 'Ecopoesis'. But you should go buy Woodward's collection.

1 comment:

Matt Scrivner said...

What a marvelous use of the extended poetic form. There's a nearly Spartan quality to the way so much imagery is evoked by so few words.

Thanks for sharing.