Three poems – Matthew Harrison

Matthew Harrison

In an alternative universe

This world denies all possibility
Of loving one of whom I am in awe:
Society, the will of others, law,
All protect only domesticity.
True feeling’s seen as eccentricity,
Infidelity, worse, and must withdraw
Or at best stay hidden behind a door
Depriving us two of felicity.
So in this world, yet if other worlds were –
Everett’s endless branching multiverse,
Alternative time lines, colliding branes,
Remoteness to make identity blur –
We could, so why not in this universe?
Let’s be together and forget our chains!


Prove you are not a robot

We all get asked to do this
When transacting online,
But it could be awkward
If you happened to be a robot,
And I’m sure that
With increasing political correctness
This phrase will go the way
Of, ‘Whites only’,
And, ‘No suntans’,
And we will have separate workflows
For humans and robots,
And any other categories
We have by then,
So that everyone
(This term being meant inclusively)
Will have the best possible
User experience
In the best of all possible worlds.


We won’t see them

We’ve been searching the stars
For signs of alien civilisation,
And a few times now
We thought we’d found them –
The regular radio flashes
That turned out to be pulsars,
The infra-red-emitting blobs
That just might be Dyson spheres,
And, more recently,
Strange extended objects
Apparently orbiting a star –
But really, if you think about it,
Our own technological progress
From the smoky iron monsters
Of the nineteenth century,
Through the streamlined clean-tech
Of the twentieth
To the invisible nano-tech
Of our own,
Shows that any sufficiently advanced technology
May be indistinguishable,
Not only from magic,
But also from nature.

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