TOMORROW: The Poetics of Tomorrow

TOMORROW: The Poetics of Tomorrow

[Written by Alice Hill-Woods – Creative Writing Editor]

The future has been analysed, fortified and deconstructed; met with elation, met with anxiety; always written about. Writing about tomorrow can be an act of rebellion, or a manifesto for the future, because it requires the intention for change. In this sense, it is a wonderful prompt for creative outlet, as it finds its place between dichotomies such as the known/the unknown, hope/fear and change/rigidity. It presents itself as an opportunity to reimagine and reconstruct our environment or ourselves on the premise that it is a fresh start.

When browsing some creative pieces, I came across Dennis O’Driscoll’s poem, Tomorrow (2004). In the final stanza, he writes, “cagily, presumptuously, I dare to write 2018. / A date without character or tone. 2018. / A year without interest rates or mean daily / temperature. / Its hit songs have yet to be written, its new-year / babies yet to be induced, its truces to be signed” (www.poetryfoundation.org). It struck me as bizarre that the future described in his poem, his far-off tomorrow, is our today – perhaps even our yesterday. My eyes draw themselves back to the first line: “tomorrow I will start to be happy”. I would like to see tomorrow as a means for hope.

Having had numerous conversations about tomorrow, I can admit that I prefer the more mundane ones, such as when you’re making a plan, sharing timeframes and potential happenings. I think my favourite kind of tomorrow is one that’s small; it doesn’t explode but emerges in pastels and scents. There is something so delicious about the day-to-day.

 

Unseasoned Hikers

I think tomorrow we should catch the 6:05

and bundle up our maps of the Trossachs.

 

We can carry the morning in our aging flask

and find the best seats

(on the left side to catch the sunlight).

 

We can step out into the bright chill

and find no signal and still relief.

 

You’ll follow the trail with staccato certainty,

marching to that internal pull.

 

The flask will leak; the maps now sodden

will flap in our hands, contoured birds in beige.

 

Giving up halfway, sweat and nettle rash

and gaze at sandwiches squished by my torch.

 

We’ll probably look at each other and

piss ourselves laughing,

 

and then regain our pulse, energised by

some cerebral rush and the smell of pine.

 

We can choose steady velvet slumber

as our tent dissolves into the landscape

 

and wake up numb, full, glad, alive!

Let’s catch tomorrow’s 6:05.

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