The world is different today


The world is different today,
Old joys sit in the stomach,
Like a stone that has started to weigh,
Dragging us down in the dark.

The sun does not shine as bright,
And yet the shadows still draw in,
Trying to drown out the light,
Spreading the darkness within.

The world is different today,
The air is harder to breather,
Life is that much less gay,
Wonders are harder to believe.

The day is not so warm,
A fearful cold nips at our hearts
And fierce gales howl towards
The sanctity of a warmer past.

The world is different today,
The clouds threaten our skies,
Sombre thoughts steal our play,
Truth is besmirched by lies.

A heaviness pulls us down
As though stuck in a deep mud.
It is harder to move forwards now;
Our shoes have turned to lead.

The world is different today,
The hours are too short,
Night too quickly chases day.
Bad dreams cloud our thoughts.

The day has lost its shine,
The world seems drab and dull,
An emptiness pervades our sight,
A sadness chips at our soul.

The world is different today,
But tomorrow it will be different again,
Dawn brings another day
And what’s left of today will not be the same.

The world is different today,
But darkness does not last,
Hope always finds it way
And this day, too, will pass.


Shaded memory


Bleak, black, blocks of wood, writhing limbs
Pinned against the blue-grey, sea-shades of the sky
Where honey flavoured fingers of the sun
Unfurl their stiffened joints
To caress the ground beneath
And pour out affection on luminous blades of jade

A solitary figure, knock-kneed and balanced by a stick
Pulling a zipperless coat tight, with the one spare hand
Thrusts himself forward
Wading through the tempest
Into a bullion beam
Where dust mites dance around his head in lazy jubilation

Gnarled hand, grips tight, around gnarled wood
Whitewashed, waxen hair, molded to his head by rain
Gleams radiant in the beam’s glare
Rheumy eyes determinedly focus
On the aged oak tree ahead
Standing as it has since before his grandfather’s grandfather’s days.

Wood, darkened by the rain and scarred by the decades
Yields to the old man’s touch, tracing the time long-past, where
Now ancient, heart and letters
Were once painstakingly etched
Into the timber’s flesh
And bittersweet memories further blur already clouded eyes.


Ten Reasons to Just Keep Going


(when you’d rather curl up in a ball and sleep until it all goes away again)

1. Sadly hibernation isn’t an option. Unless you are a bear. If you are a bear, then firstly kudos on your unacknowledged reading skill and secondly, I suggest you find yourself a nice cosy cave and sit this one out.

2. You cling on to a blind, and in no way scientifically substantiated view, that everything will be alright at the end of the month/once you have won the lottery/after you’ve reached retirement/etc.

3. It’s easier than stopping to acknowledge you have no time to stop and shouldn’t have wasted precious moments stopping to think about this.

4. Consequences of stopping might prove detrimental to career, health and relationships. Some might argue not stopping might prove detrimental to the very same things but I haven’t time to stop and think about that.

5. The vague memory of when you didn’t have to make yourself keep going motivates you to keep going until you reach a point where you don’t have to again. Crystal clear? Peachy!

6. Everyone around you is also keeping going. If you stop to ask them why and then they stop to think about this and stop someone else to ask them why, you could effectively cause the entire universe to grind to a halt and then where would we be?

7. You secretly suspect that hints of whinging about not having enough time is something that people who have enough time to whinge about do and that those who really don’t have enough time just get on with it. So unless you want people to think you are simply a pretend busy person it’s best not to say anything.

8. You can use this as an excuse to reward yourself frequently. For example ‘just keep going for another X hours/until so many words have been written/everyone else has gone home’ and then as a treat you can watch another episode of a trashy tv show/have a cat-napping break (cats optional)/make brownies (and then use next just keep going until X break to eat brownies). Whatever floats your boat.

9. You can’t go back, standing still gets tedious so might as well keep going.

10. You hope if you use the phrase often enough and repeat constantly as a mantra to yourself the slogan will either be adopted by a major brand for which you will be paid millions or people will think you are crazy and no-one will ever sit next to you on the bus again. It’s a win-win situation.

just keep going - bp image

Unstuck in time

This week I have been trying to plan a number of international calls for my boss. I have a useful device on my computer where I can easily compare the times of our office with those he regularly connects with around the world. So usually this is pretty straight forward, except that I have been trying to coordinate calls that will happen after the clocks have changed in Geneva. In some countries clocks don’t change at all and in others they don’t change when ours do. And for some reason trying to figure this out makes my brain bleed.
I can check a hundred times that in a particular week Geneva will be an additional hour ahead of New York but when I look at the time scroller I can’t compute the adding on of that extra hour and have to start again. It’s like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face and I can’t get it to slow down enough for me to figure it out.
P1000461The concept of time is a strange thing and I’m not 100% sure that I believe in it as I am supposed to. A month or two back we read Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ for book club. The book is told in a non linear fashion and centres around the character of Billy Pilgrim who becomes ‘unstuck in time’.
I read the book and listened to the club debate whether it should be classified as science fiction, whether Billy should be considered to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or whether the unsticking in time is simply an old man reminiscing. Being the somewhat simple person that I am I read it and just accepted the time travel as a perfectly normal aspect of the narrative.
To be honest it kind of made sense. I think I know that time moves in a regimented, chronological, one-minute-follows-another-minute sort of way, but that’s not how we experience it. So I wonder if the concept of time that I think I know is just one version of the reality of this?
I’ve been experiencing déjà vu quite a lot recently, that sense of half-remembered names and faces that I’ve already encountered some time ago. I looked online and found a lot of simple(ish) scientific explanations for déjà vu. But what if the explanation is even simpler, a moment or experience feels familiar because you actually have seen or experienced it before at another time?
Perhaps time is much more like a wheel within a wheel than the straight line we think, and every so often whilst spinning around one wheel we might get teeny glimpses of something that’s on another wheel we aren’t supposed to be circling yet? Like the fleeting moment of identifying a face in the crowd when on a ride at a fairground before the image is snatched away.
When they first turned on the large hadron collider at CERN, which I visited last weekend, there were fears that it would create a black hole and destroy life as we know it. The scientists involved said that was ridiculous and wouldn’t happen but when asked what would be the outcome of their work they didn’t, and still really don’t, know what the effects might be. Nerds (myself included) across the world are mostly keeping our fingers crossed for the coolest possible scientific outcome, that is to say time travel.
LHCbI like time travel stories and the fiancé and I have just decided to start watching all the rebooted Doctor Who (from 2005) from episode one, series one. I love the show but it always leaves me with a lot of questions.
Like how is anything ever a surprise for the Doctor? For example when he meets a potential new companion, how does he not instantly recognize them from future memories? When he’s in a sticky situation why can he never remember how to get out of it? And also, why are his companions always pretty young women? My constant questions become words that jangle in my head and are probably evidence of my tendency to over-think things rather than just go with the flow but the whole concept of time travel is just a circle in a spiral that keeps on spinning!
The idea of being able to visit different ages and different periods in history is definitely appealing. I’m pretty sure I’d make an excellent Tudor and would obviously love to see if hover cars ever do become the reality futuristic films promise.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut if you had the ability to time travel would you be able to avoid the temptation to visit your own history? If you could change the things you are not proud of or glimpse into the future to see what happens, would you? And if you could time travel and could make the odd adjustment here and there would this change who you are? If you knew your future would you experience your life differently?
And if time isn’t altered so easily and isn’t so much a line as a circle would we, like Billy Pilgrim, live our lives on a constant loop, that never really ends or begins but rather lurches from one key moment to another? Would life become a trap, a nightmarish existence of endlessly reliving every moment?
Would I at least be able to figure out what time zones Geneva and connecting cities are in, relying on future successes, or would I have to experience the pain of figuring this out for an eternity?