So many eye-patches and clockwork hands,
ivory legs with perfectly hinged joints.
The lignum vitae walking stick that points
to war-wounds earned in blood on Afghan sands
borne stoically. So much pain and loss
the backbeat of a world of great machines,
the backwash of its energy. This means,
I think, that if we found our way across
to that world, or they find their way to ours,
there would be envy, not unmixed with pride.
That they had hurt so much, that on our side
we’ve had it soft, that our vast mirrored towers
our cleaner air, flushed skin, are children’s toys
for Eloi far too weak for smoke and noise.
This one is for elisem who made some good points about steampunk’s slightly fetishistic appropriation of disability. And the fact that I am sitting here slightly wasted on pain control for an extracted tooth and my arthritic knee reminds me that we all have sooner or later that degree of liminality which comes from being part alive and part dead, part whole and part not. And reminds me, pace autopope and yuki_onna that as that awful old reprobate Willie Yeats said ‘Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry’.