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A Message from Year 50

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  • A Message from Year 50


    Our saucer turns, descends to land. (The crew
    Hold shares in this franchise, and run it too.)
    Its SmartFilm airship-skin, absorbing sun,
    Adjusts the buoyancy; makes motors run.

    We passengers (who cook and clean as well)
    Look at the scene below. There, folk who dwell
    Beside this North Sea county’s river-mouth
    Turn out to greet our airship from the South!

    Before we land and disembark, we view
    A panoply of Earth – mortal works, too:
    Three centuries’ Three Bridges; woods, hills, vales;
    Here, crofts and camps; there, turbine-farms and sails.

    Not least we scan their thriving factory -
    The centre of communal industry -
    Where what formerly belched as CO2
    Becomes constructive items plus O2,

    As processed-carbon products by degree
    Replace glass, concrete, steel that used to be:
    For lighter, warmer, cheaper, self-build homes
    (Half-underground, most roofed with greenhouse-domes)
    And vehicles, fuelled from sun-split water.
    - Invention, Necessity’s sweet daughter!

    Between the wind-whirled wheels and solar steeples
    Now wends a delegation from The People’s
    Assembly for the Common Good, to greet
    Their visitors. With smiles and hugs, we meet.

    One traveller’s a bee-warden named Seth
    Who guards his flock from hazards, ills, and death
    Through nanodrones he pilots at their hives -
    In-woven VirtuRealy with their lives.

    Another’s an ethologist called Trish:
    To study social changes is her wish,
    And visit here the famed 'Trousers' Museum
    (As most now wear the kilt, we rarely see ’em!)

    A third guest is a nine-year-old who’s keen
    To see how seals and dolphins aid marine
    Research and workers on the turbine farms.
    They carry monitors and sound alarms –
    Schools able by their sonar-sense to tell
    If parts are cracking or sound as a bell;
    While seals, tagged with transmitters, show where shoals
    Are plentiful or lacking, which controls
    Where fishing may take place or still is banned -
    Sea husbanded as fondly as the land.

    At weekly, monthly, meetings - small or great -
    Each town’s and city’s folks meet to debate
    The works and pastimes presently in hand,
    Deciding policies. Key tasks are planned.

    Policy-men and -women roam the streets
    (On foot, bike, horse); keep order on their beats,
    Upholding what these delegates have voted
    (Merit and demerit points are noted ... ).

    A basic income citizens all get
    Means none feel hunger, cold, or want; and yet
    There’s no lack of initiative or work:
    Commitment drives; self-worth forbids to shirk.
    A contributionism ethos thrives;
    As each sees others do, each gladly strives.

    The frail and sick are treasured for themselves -
    Not made to feel a burden, left on shelves.
    For all (it’s trusted) offer what they can,
    And each one has a purpose in life’s plan.

    The old are honoured mentors of the young,
    Their wisdom shared by deeds of hand and tongue.
    (Continued use keeps neural networks fresh!)
    Traditions do not stultify, but bless.
    They practise and pass on what each has learned.
    The backward are helped forward; none are spurned.

    The pedal-monorail’s extending still,
    Each district adding branch-lines as they will.
    Those trains of lightweight monocoques, that hang
    From carbon-fibre gantries, gently clang
    As able-bodied cheerily propel
    By turns. Those less fit aid as well:

    In singing heartily, they keep the beat -
    Encouraging the team of pumping feet!
    So exercise and fellowship combine
    Communally - surely a healthy sign?
    (Our records show past citizens, sans greeting,
    Commuted silent - eyes not even meeting!)

    An orchard’s in each street, whose trees bear crops
    That children gather; birds sing in their tops.
    The neighbourhoods make cider and preserves,
    Nut-loaf and more, and forage country herbs.

    At harvest-festival, it’s party-time!
    Convivial, not drunk, on homemade wine,
    With homely entertainment (music, song
    And dancing), days are full and nights are long.

    Some weeks hence, bearing gathered local news,
    Our airship - like a bee, which on its cruise
    Distributes pollen wherever it lights -
    Moves on. Our sister-ships make kindred flights.

    It now is fifty years since The Great Break:
    That cut-off, crash, of humankind’s mistake.
    The longer purpose of our visit here’s
    To fill a Time-Capsule for future years;

    This is the sweetness of our Jubilee,
    Our jar of honey: truth for progeny.
    Let others add their messages. Mine? This:
    Love kindness, and in doing so find bliss.
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