In 2092, Sergeant Major Sullivan, aged 28, attended the grand opening of a museum housing previously looted antiquities recaptured from The Enemy. One such antiquity was an ornate, rather hefty cast iron light fixing. During a speech delivered by General Kahn, head of the United European Federation Army, the fixing came away from the ceiling and plummeted down onto Sullivan’s head, killing him outright.
The alternate history was that in 2092, Sullivan attended the same museum opening, but as an enemy operative. Thus, the antiquity killed General Kahn instead and started World War Three.
In 2093, scientists invented a time machine in both alternatives.
Named after a warrior who blasted down walls,
Joshua was born head-first down the toilet,
to emerge a quick thinker of eccentric wit
who pretended to daydream
while missing nothing. He also wanted to play the trumpet.
Now he’s eight, he debates weighty issues,
despises football, tolerates cricket,
and honours his household pets
who’d guard him to the death.
And when he opens his music-case, they all line up to hear his trumpet.
Joshua listens to heavy rock on headphones
while devising fantasy games
full of monsters and super-heroes.
In bed he cuddles old Teddy bear,
who knows all his secret fears, and is his most loyal trumpet fan.
When he grows up, he intends to stop World War Three,
not by fighting, but as a computer decoder.
He’ll ban gross school dinners and short trousers
and other customs causing resentment,
then he’ll sit on a hilltop pondering peace, and praise Creation with his trumpet.
I wrote this poem seventeen years ago about my son, Joshua. Recently, he gave me permission to post it on my blog.
It’s so difficult to predict what a child will grow up to do with his life.Joshua still loves computers, fantasy gaming, and animals, but he doesn’t play the trumpet anymore, and he isn’t a computer decoder or scientist of any kind. Instead, he’s just graduated in English, Creative Writing, and History.