Today's poem is by Ray Bradbury

Of What is Past, or Passing, or to Come

Of what is past, or passing, or to come,
These things I sense and sing, and try to sum.
The apeman with his cave in need of fire,
The tiger to be slain, his next desire.
The mammoth on the hoof a banquet seems,
How bring the mammoth down fills apeman's dreams.
How taunt the sabertooth and pull his bite?
How cadge the flame to end an endless night?
All this the apeman sketches on his cave
In cowards' arts that teach him to be brave.
So, beasts and fire that live beyond his lair
Are drawn in science fictions everywhere.
The walls are full of schemes that sum and teach,
To help the apeman reach beyond his reach.
While all his ape-companions laugh and shout:
"What are those stupid blueprints all about?
Give up your science fictions, clean the cave!"
But apeman knows his sketching chalk can save,
And knowing, learning, moves him to rehearse
True actions in the world to death reverse.
With axe he knocks the tiger's smile to dust,
Then runs to slay the mammoth with spear thrust;
The hairy mountain falls, the forests quake,
Then fire is swiped to cook a mammoth steak.
Three problems thus are solved by art on wall:
The tiger, mammoth, fire, the one, the all.
So these first science fictions circled thought
And then strode forth and all the real facts sought,
And then on wall new science fictions drew,
That run through history and end with . . . you.

Copyright © 2002 Ray Bradbury All rights reserved
from I Live By The Invisible
Salmon Poetry / Dufour Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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