Two Kinds of Time
In some universes
time is experienced as linear.
Individuals move through their lives
cutting a track into their possibilities
and paving it into permanence behind them.
Aware only of the winding road they have chosen,
looking backwards down the line from now to birth
looking forward into the obscure thicket of the future
sometimes, peripherally aware of a bare hint
of what if’s as what isn’t.
In some universes
time is experienced as a plane.
Beings move around their existence
as an intimate landscape
treading and retreading every possibility.
Learning their lives as a farmer learns her land,
choosing every choice
exploring every opening,
until through preference
a rut is worn in the familiar
a dwelling in just one favourite moment or cycle of moments
a resting place from their endless wanderings.
When you sleep
these universes meet in your dreams.
Time leaks across the boundaries
so you can know a little
of the strange ways of linearity or planearity;
whichever is most unfamiliar to you.
Meliors Simms’ “Two Kinds of Time” is one of the more philosophical poems that Mark Pirie and I included in Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand.
Mark and I weren’t the only ones to recognise its virtues: “Two Kinds of Time” was nominated in the Best Short Poem category of the annual Rhysling Awards for the best speculative poetry of 2009, and is therefore included in the 2010 Rhysling Anthology, published by the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
The Rhysling award winners have just been announced – congratulations to the winners and placegetters – and “Two Kinds of Time” was not among them, but it’s still a great tribute to Meliors and to this poem that it was selected for inclusion in the anthology.
You can also find out more about Voyagers, and buy it directly from the publisher, at the Voyagers mini-site.
Find lots more Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog.