Home Writing Artwork Photography About News Contact Links

Door to Door

Phileas F. Pendulum had a good racket,
He dealt in the futures market,
He peddled with a difference,
Investigated consequence.

He had a really cool chameleon suit,
Changed its form whilst en route
It was 25th Century secret design,
Nanotechnology, environmentally benign.

The houses he frequented were further apart than most,
Of his forebears’ trading pillar to post,
For Phileas was no ordinary mortal
Less door-to-door, more: portal-to-portal.

To be honest, you could get his ancestors’ stock in any old store,,
Phileas, however, set his sights on just that little bit more,
Not so much brushes and dusters,
Less Betterware, more Time Buster.

For some it was relationships and marital advice,
Anything the future held, available, at a price,
For most it was lottery numbers, stocks and shares,
Realised dreams, side-stepped nightmares.

Approaching the twitching curtains of uncertainty,
What he sold carried no warranty,
But the promise wrapped up in his pitch,
Lured his clients to scratch an itch.


And so Phileas stood on the doorstep of No. 23,
Upper Forsythia Avenue, Shoreham-by-sea,
He pressed the tarnished doorbell,
And straightened his tie,
Turned on the charm,
And his modus operandi.

Mabel Brown was in no rush to answer,
Probably a hawker or some other chancer,
She let him ring the bell again,
Before unhooking the door’s security chain.

Phileas’ skill was unparalleled,
As he offered to reveal what the future held,
And he came across as so sincere,
Mabel truly believed there was nothing to fear.

And so she happily welcomed him in,
This was no wolf in sheep’s skin,
She provided him with tea and a freshly baked cake,
Phileas assured her he was no fake.

She wanted to keep her boys safe,
To know they’d not be led astray, or waif,
To live content with each day dawning,
To act in time and issue warning.

Phileas offered the impossible, like a cosmic seer,
Nipped ahead a day, a month, a year,
Calmly noted his client’s request,
Back in a second with the results of his quest.

One broken marriage and one doomed career,
With guidance she now knew how to steer,
But one thing still nagged at the back of her mind,
Should her actions be further refined?

She would effect these changes to her children’s fate,
But what level of guidance was appropriate?
Before she finally settled his bill,
Mabel wanted knowledge of a plan fulfilled.

Phileas agreed to bring news of her sons,
As long as she, in turn, stuck to her guns,
Made notes of her actions, every day,
He’d return with her diary to the start of play.


He couldn’t revisit the same time and place twice,
That kind of risk carried a really high price,
In case he met…Himself, coming back,
Carrying his scattered atoms in a paradox sack.

His future landings required incredible finesse,
Both for his personal safety and the mission’s success,
With several near misses and a bunch of close runs,
Just one more jump for Mabel’s diary,
Would see his work done.

But his time trail was becoming stretched like elastic,
As Phileas attempted more temporal gymnastics,
Without warning it gave with a snap,
In a catapulting, four-dimensional trap.


He shot forward billions of years,
Any trace of humanity long disappeared,
Far-flung and shrouded in mystery,
Little left, all else history.

With Earth’s changed face beyond recognition,
No hat, no rabbit, no last minute magician,
Phileas squirmed, no choice but compliant,
This was confirmed, as the sun…turned red giant.

Copyright ©DJBurnham 2011 All Rights Reserved

Return to Poetry Index