Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Illustration for article titled Genre Poetry Slam

I was curious whether anyone else had a favorite sf/fantasy-related poem. Maybe it's a work by one of "the usual suspects" like Poe, Carroll or Bradbury, or even something a bit more classic (big Snorri Sturluson fan, m'self). Or maybe the poem just hits you in the same places a good piece of genre prose takes you. Here's mine (and yes, part of the reason for this post is just me wanting to share it):

The prisoners of infinite choice
Have built their house
In a field below the wood
And are at peace.

It is autumn, and dead leaves
On their way to the river
Scratch like birds at the windows
Or tick on the road.

Somewhere there is an afterlife
Of dead leaves,
A stadium filled with an infinite
Rustling and sighing.

Somewhere in the heaven
Of lost futures
The lives we might have lived
Have found their own fulfillment.

Derek Mahon, from Selected Poems (The Gallery Press/Viking 1991).

I first came across it in Lisa Tuttle's novel Lost Futures and have been in love with it ever since. The first line of the poem captured me like the central theme of a good SF novel: maybe "infinite choice" and "fate" are two different ways of looking at the exact same thing.


Okay, enough Freshman Philosophy. If you have a favorite of your own, please feel free to post it in the comments.


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