Tuesday Poem: Two Kinds of Time, by Meliors Simms

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.

Tim says:

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.

Voyagers cover

You can buy Voyagers from Amazon.com as a paperback or Kindle e-book, or from New Zealand Books Abroad, or Fishpond.

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.

Poem From Voyagers Nominated For International Poetry Award

Meliors Simms’ poem “Two Kinds of Time”, first published in Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, which I co-edited with Mark Pirie, has been nominated for the Rhysling Awards, the international awards for speculative (science fiction, fantasy and horror) poetry. We thought that was well worth a press release, and here it is!

New Zealand poem nominated for international award

Meliors Simms’ poem “Two Kinds of Time”, first published in the acclaimed anthology “Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand” (Interactive Press, 2009), has been nominated for a Rhysling Award for the best science fiction, fantasy or horror poem published in 2009.

The Rhysling Awards, administered by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, were inaugurated in 1978. Among previous winners are such well-known writers as Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jane Yolen and Joe Haldeman.

“I’m honoured to have my poem nominated for an international poetry award with such an illustrious history,” said Meliors Simms from her home in Hamilton. “I had never heard of the genre of science fiction poetry until I was invited to submit to the Voyagers anthology a few years ago. ‘Two Kinds of Time’ was my first effort and marked a shift in my writing style from introspective to more ideas-based poetry.”

Tim Jones, who co-edited Voyagers with Mark Pirie, said “We are delighted for Meliors, and very pleased for this further recognition for New Zealand science fiction poetry and for Voyagers. The anthology has been very well-received in New Zealand, and it has already appeared on the NZ Listener and New Zealand Herald best books lists for 2009. The international interest in the anthology, and in Meliors’ poem in particular, is just as exciting.”

Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand is available from leading New Zealand independent bookstores. It is also available online from Interactive Press, from Fishpond (NZ) and from Amazon.com.


Meliors Simms has made a short video called “Non Linear Time”, which features one section of her nominated poem “Two Kinds of Time”. It can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIAkJVQ064o

Meliors’ web site is at http://www.meliors.net

For more information about the Rhyslings, please visit http://www.sfpoetry.com/rhysling.html

The Voyagers website is at http://ipoz.biz/Titles/Voy.htm

Voyagers received a very positive review in Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. That interview is available online at http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/08/voyagers-gets-great-first-review.html

How To Buy Voyagers

In New Zealand

  • Directly from me. I now have a limited number of copies for sale for NZ $28 plus $2 p&p. If you’d like one, please email senjmito@gmail.com with your address and preferred payment method.
  • From an increasing range of bookshops, including (but not limited to) Unity Books (Wellington and Auckland), Books a Plenty in Tauranga, Bruce MacKenzie Books in Palmerston North, Madras Cafe Books in Christchurch, and the University Book Shop in Dunedin.
  • From Fishpond.


USA only