What really happened

What really happened

Did dinosaurs dance
On Doggerland sandbanks
As meteors rained
Like so much shaken pink Champagne
In the last days of the last great Ice Age?

It’s hard to say,
And harder still to know
What we could hope to have to show
For all the knowing.

Did the Devil plant those bones
In the bogmuck, silt and loam,
Arranging dastardly creations
Out of mammals, birds, crustaceans?

Did the angels cross blades
In a celestial crusade,
In a grim cavalcade,
That mankind might escape
Relatively unscathed,
And emerge from ink and page
To be much greater than an ape,
To do much more than rape and rage?

It’s difficult to say:
Whichever way you look at it,
The story obscures the truth,
The allegation trumps the proof,
And we’re left with nothing much
To shout about.

In terms of reasonable or unreasonable doubt,
I’d rather have a reason to believe
In an Eden to achieve
Than an evil to bereave
With a frisson to reprieve.

But that’s little to bequeath.

Did Atlantis really sink?
Did the Black Death really stink?
Did Icarus really fly?
Did Walt Disney really die?
Did Victorian London really suffer from smog?
Did Hitler really love his dog?
Did South Africa really work with Israel
On mastering nuclear power?
Did King Richard III really murder
The two princes in the tower?

Caught up in all the excitement
In the citation of sources
Made sticky from being passed through many hands,
One may well declare indictment
On the clash of opposing forces
And the consequential flux of folks and lands;
Yes, it’s nice to think we could –
And if we could, that we would –
Be tempted to propose
That through deduction one somehow,
As opposed to just believing, knows,

But it’s impossible to say
What really happened.

Appears in:
Rhymes for all times [2015]


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