Overheard At The Timeport

That these travellers from exotic times as yet unnamed,
(the Age of Brains perhaps, or the Red Years)
stopped off merely for reasons of entropy

never occurred to us as they surfaced, blinking,
into the heat and humidity of the Cape,
unmoved by our official welcomes

while stonily awaiting their connection;
unless what we offered was like a bar
beside some jungle airstrip selling hooch

across planks atop two oil-drums;
our squabbles dull compared to Ragnaroks
to come; our arts much like the doldrums

of this remote timeport, somewhen between
the dinosaurs and the sun ripening
like a plum. But there was one

from far uptime whose ethics sieve
no longer cared who overheard
how in the histories of the future

we are known only for a nameless guilt,
the stink of which pervades our age, shamed
by something we did, or are about to.

—David Barber