The Future Perfect

Entry by: Cat Chase Tail

20th February 2022
From the Future, the Past Must Seem a Nightmare

A farmer, standing drowsy in the shade,
halts his machine, for something’s shifting sound
from purr to rattle as it ploughs the glade.

He runs a callused finger on the blade.
‘Ah,’ he sighs, there: a pearly object, round
like a ball. At the shape of it, afraid,

his fingers clench, for where the plough’s arrayed
a skull and a blade of iron prick the ground:
a speartip, punched through bone in ancient raid.

All round, the August finches serenade
from alder branches, where the ivy’s wound
and swallows celebrate their dancing trade.

All’s still in misting evening, night delayed
by the blaze of the red horizon, crowned
with a harvest moon, but the man’s dismayed.

‘Past was a living nightmare, where man preyed
on man and woman, all compassion drowned.
With time our ancient hatreds tend to fade;
behold: we’ve built the world for which they prayed.’