I have written a few collaborative poems with Beckie, of Beckie’s Mental Mess, where we each add to lines and pass it back and forth between us, they are great fun. This one is probably the longest we have done.
Here is the finished poem:
I walked through the home my grandmother once owned,
in the middle of the attic remained a dusty, antiquated trunk.
it contained a painting of her, looking like a queen enthroned,
and other seeming treasures, though some eyes would see only junk.
The painting revealed that she was not fully grown,
because of the oversized top-hat, the essence of futuristic steampunk.
And in the trunk, I saw a strange but old device rather like a phone,
with brass cogs and wheels and silver dials covered in oily gunk.
I studied the device with a fine-toothed comb
after, I carefully scrubbed all the components of that oily funk.
Then the gadget started whirring, letting out a plaintive moan,
I pressed a button on it, frantically, then it pulled me far from home.
A wormhole of flashing lights and scenes went by through this cyclone,
my finger pressed on the red button and was dumped at some ancient catacomb.
I saw some figures dressed in togas and realised I was under the hills of Rome,
A centurion shouted at me, but I never had learned Latin, I pressed the button and Zoom.
Boom! Back in the attic alongside the trunk in my grandmother’s home.
An envelope sat atop the Steampunk top hat, lights fluttered against the chrome.
I pulled out the letter from the envelope and in my granny’s hand it read,
“Darling, I know you’ll read this, by the way, I’m from the future” Granny Said.
“I know this might come to you as a shock, but Darling Dearest, I’m not dead.”
“… you’ll require the hat and remote for your journey.” I reread.
I followed granny’s careful instructions, and Gosh, she’d written quite a few,
then donned the hat, pressed the button and whizzed back to the battle of Waterloo.
Plop! smack dab in the middle of the blood and gore, pressed the button, and bid adieu,
back through the cyclone, time speeding by, landed in Vietnam amongst the tall bamboo.
I gave a friendly wave to Jane Fonda teaching aerobics to a local retinue,
Then pressed once more, the button and again back through time, I flew.
I landed in Midtown, 1931, the Empire State Building, floors reaching 102.
Why did I know this? I’m afraid of heights… Pressed another button, and “Woo-Hoo!”
And back I went, to the dawn of time, when everything was green and new,
I narrowly escaped from a Tyrannosaurus rex, when a meteor storm blew.
Phew! I pressed that button in a knick of time! through the cyclone again, I flew.
Landed amongst an 18th-century French cotillion, women dressed in cobalt blue.
And soldiers marched along with pipes and drums, playing a tune I knew,
I sang along, with the throng, to the Marseillaise as the band came through.
As I listened and sang along, a young lad came into the venue,
he handed me an envelope addressed to me, I was taken aback and a bit confused.
Another letter from Granny saying “In order to find me, you need a more forward view,
stop searching for me in the distant past” the old dear sounded so amused!
The band finished marching by, and I wondered what to do,
‘am I able to program the gadget or hat?’ I was so enthused.
I twisted the dial on the hat and cranked the handle a time or two,
then rushed ahead a thousand years, feeling befuddled and rather bruised.
When I landed in unknown territory, I was lightheaded and so confused,
was I still here on earth, or now cruising throughout the Cosmo’s?
This desolate planet did not seem like Earth at all, was it Venus, Mars or Uranus?
I thought “There’s life Jim, but not as we know it”, a quote that’s often misused.
Where ever I may have landed, the planets and stars were all quite luminous.
Was I even in the same galaxy? I was truly bemused.
I was screaming loudly inside my head, but still, I didn’t make a fuss
Then gliding across that desolate space, a hovercar towards me, slowly cruised.
As the hovercar weaved through space, I felt my demeanor adjust,
I was a bit apprehensive, as the hovercar began to land and the air around it defused.
I felt my heart race and knew something would happen, it must,
As the car doors opened upwards, a glowing white mist effused.
I was frozen, thinking some alien being would emerge from the cosmic dust,
all was silent, then I focussed… A little old woman laughing, she seemed rather amused.
It was Granny, not dead at all, looking larger than life and robust,
I gave her a big hug and she stared into my eyes, “What took you so damn long?” she accused.
With tears in my eyes, I tried to explain, “Granny, I missed you so much!”
I handed her the hat and remote, and exclaimed, “They both made me so confused.”
“Well, Never mind, my dear, you’re here and that’s all very nice, and such,
But did you bring me what I asked you for?” Said Granny, I started to feel rather used.
I stood there in disbelief, then inquired, “Grandma, I left to find you in such a rush,
I don’t recall reading what you needed or wanted,” For, this was not an excuse.
Granny gave a stern frown “Look, you can spare me all that emotional slush!
I’m a Granny on a mission, I should have known you’d be no use!”
I couldn’t believe this attitude I was receiving, it must have shown on my face, now flushed.
“Grandma! that’s about enough! I didn’t come here for this abrupt abuse!”
I have to admit I was feeling rather hurt, totally shaken, emotionally crushed.
Said Granny “Look, I’m sorry dear, but we’ve got a job to do, there’s absolutely no time to lose!”
I had never seen my grandmother act this way, as she spewed and gushed,
Wise-ass, me, questioned rather quickly, “Do you want to find Grandpa?” I mused.
Grandma shed a doleful tear “No, I’m afraid he’s gone where time cannot touch,
“I have to go and bring back the seeds of trees, they died long ago” she reproved.
I felt terrible to bring up such a solemn time, that I totally misjudged,
“Seeds of trees?”, I soon rebutted, “Are you saying, I’m to go back to the present, and retrieve them for you?”
“No,” Granny said “I’ll come too, my mission was to create a biodome, after all, we totally fudged,
protecting the planet. I need to bring back trees and some bees beginning nature anew.”
Granny picked up the top hat and remote and began to point towards the hovercar with a nudge,
“We require a hover truck, to transfer the trees an bees and a larger crew.”
I was taken aback by my bossy Grandmother, I could see why my Mother bore a grudge
I couldn’t help commenting “No Granny dear, you forget that from little seeds big trees grew”
“Fine! We’ll pick up the seeds, I’ll be dead before I see the trees!” Granny stomped away feeling begrudged.
We settled into the hovercar and granny set gadgets to go back in time, and Zoom! off we flew.
Back to a time when the world was one great forest and people lived in huts of muddy sludge.
but while we were there we made a few friends and taught them about farming too.
Granny was so impressed by everyone working together, she finally released her grudge,
“Oh, my goodness, I had almost forgotten how beautiful it was.” As granny pointed at the tall bamboo.
we spent several pleasant weeks gathering cuttings and seeds until we had enough,
a big guy named Ugg took a fancy to me, when we left, I bid him a fair fond adieu.
As we travelled through time, Granny and I, we reminisced over the handsome natives in the buff,
Granny was quite calm and relaxed, we had the seedlings, and she was no longer acting the shrew.
We gathered a gang of Grannie’s mates, built a biodome and filled it with our stuff
Then we went forward again by fifty years and marvelled at the glorious view.
The biodome was incredible, clouds formed above resembling that of marshmallow fluff,
and a trickling brook flowing through oaks, maples, ferns, and a few spruce.
Granny smiled and said, “My mission’s complete, thanks for helping, I know it’s been rough,
“Now the future’s safe, I suppose you’ll want to return to your own time and vamoose”
I thought about leaving, but I knew there was future work to be completed, and it would be tough…
“Granny, I think I’ll stay and help with growing space produce.”
“But I hope you don’t mind if I go back and find and bring back someone hairy and gruff,
For I miss that man, Ugg, and his wonderful Hug, I’m not usually easy to seduce.”
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty and Beckie Cutler: September 2019
Time Travel – A Collaborative Piece By Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess and Kristian of Tales From The Mind of Kristian