We, the future
Froth upon the past,
Like lights girdering
The stanchioned and cemented rise
Of our skyward technological pride:
Apparently so different to our
Top-hatted and bonneted selves.
Yet sunk in the sump,
Our architecture founds itself
In skirts of steam empire
Greater than wishfulness.
The top hat to be
Present and near,
Not relinquished or pushed aside.
We are merely bareheaded
And not in the least bit changed.
©A Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2017
In the black and white photograph
the 19th century station bustles with
top hats and ladies in feathered felt,
and there isn’t a man without a
moustache or sideburns flanking.
Hot bellied locomotives simmer
in the sidings and polished carriages
queue in timely lines while walruses
inspect pocket watches and point at
the world with portly cigars.
There isn’t a thing out of time: every
article existing is touched by the age,
coloured by fashions of the mind;
the ladies fine frocks of puff
petticoats and pinafores, the hiss
and mist of escaping steam, the
brass tubing veining engines, the
great hall aloft on stanchions of cast
iron. Even the tea cup and train ticket
exude époque and the purity of
happenings coinciding to form all
that was in that moment then. And
when I look I can’t find a thing that
seems unreal. Is this a trick? Will my
decedents look upon the vistas of
our time and see rich nostalgia
colouring the skin of everything. Or
will they see the lack of meaning by
which we shape, steer and live our lives
and want no part of its empty shame?
© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015