2016-03-10

Bootstraps (revised)

Why would I post nearly the same thing twice?

To demonstrate the creative process, of course!

Also to show how the only constant is change, nothing can be taken for granted, no plan survives contact with the enemy, and we are our own worst enemies.

But mostly because I am not a revisionist.  Events are events and even if we subsequently forget what they were, they still are what they were.  Similarly history is written by the victors, and thus not real; but it is what was written and always will have been...

...so I can't simply replace the previous post and thus erase the historical record (I only do that if I make an embarrassing mistake.)

Let's call this the history of the World, v0.2-patch-level-1...








Bootstraps


First floor survival gear: axes chipped
from patient flint; animal skins stitched
with skill and bone needles;
tribal leaders
arguing beside the standing stone;
berries gathered in the sun; fires kindled
in the gloom to keep the toothier beasts at bay; going up...


Second floor farms and agriculture; cats to keep
the rats away; dogs and scrawny goats; the spinning
year and fleeces; fleas in every rush pile
bed; people sleeping on a platform,
animals beneath; pots built from the local clay and fired
by the clan who have the knack; orange/yellow copper
in the kiln ash, a young man prods it thoughtfully; going up...


Third floor city states: law and orders;
walls; gates; men with wise beards,
meet, casual in the forum; politics; decorum, until
the food gets scarce; princelings swapped with
worldly powers to guarantee the peace;
philosophers on temple steps; priests
at watch, nervously; a man who writes everything down; going up...


Third floor mezzanine libraries and scriptoria: days
spent, short and candle dim; rude notes
illustrated in the margin, to the greater glory; a story
captured and defined, here and there a line
of mystery; history, on the lectern, written by scribes
in the chapter-houses of the monasteries of the victors;
a new fear of fire; books from half the World, traded, copied; going up...


Fourth floor industrialism and empire: men
in clever top hats; lines on maps or diagrams which change
the game; labourers becoming craftsmen, speaking plainly
of pounds per capita per square imperial inch;
unflinching duty; railways; educating lesser races;
ignore their anger, they are children; government buildings
in grandly inappropriate style; social reform; going up...


Fifth floor total war: wondering what it's all about in a foxhole;
shells; war poets; dysentery; seven new kinds of mud
to drown in; gas, artillery and wire; cunning inventions
to burn up everything you've known;
fragments of bone in your hair; high explosive
which de-constructed your buddy, hearing, presence of mind;
ACHTUNG MINEN! no leaves on the trees; rumours of a treaty; going up...


Fifth floor mezzanine teenagers and youth: sex and drugs;
hugs and messages of vague well-being; seeing things
in new lights; days lost in what used to be reverie, but now
is chilling out; tearing down old certainties, while still
living
within them; distant mystics, sexier than the local ones;
rolling the stones; liberty, equality, hints of progressive policy; going up...


Sixth floor technology: machines for making machines that make
decisions; tension round the rate of change; every day strange
and bravely whirled; Internets; commerce; the people, connected
and loving and arseholes, in equal measure; treasure
sieved from big data; advanced manufacturing facilities
and people drawing squiggles
to sell them on-line; connections for the World, for your mind; going up...


Seventh floor...

Top floor future: worlds beyond number;
World without end; machines that think
they are men; vice-versa; change here for: space
elevators, interstellar colonisation, Dyson spheres, generation ships;
the stars like sand upon the beach of every island paradise the mind imagines;
there is no ceiling...

...I'd put your head between your knees,
it takes some folks that way Sir. If I were you
I'd wait
until it all stops spinning
then take the other car.

Everybody else: please hold on tight...
this lift
only
goes
up...

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