Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Letter to the New York Times

One thing I forgot to mention, and which probably deserves a posting of its own.

I wrote a short letter to the New York Times the other day, protesting how Astrophysicists had drawn up plans for the Earth to be devoured by the sun in 8 billion years. I also included my sonnet on the end of the world called, "The End of the World," for the contemplation of the author of the article. It was his report which inspired me to write my sonnet.

And, do you know what? The reporter, Mr. Dennis Overbye, kindly responded.

I shall reprint our peculiar correspondence
in toto.

Dear Mr. Overbye,

The article in Tuesday's (3/11/2008) science section entitled, "Kiss the Earth Goodbye," alarmed me greatly. I have no intention of kissing the Earth goodbye. It is a lovely place to live and I intend to be here for the duration--come Hell or high water.

As a poet, I am not like a lot of the other lunatics who write to The Times. I would like to assure you, and your colleagues, that I intend to take measures--very stern measures--against any and all Apocalypses in both the near and distant future.

Here are a few. Measures. Metaphorically speaking.

Yours sincerely,
Sort of,


The End of The World

If I were more convinced that God exists,
I’d probably have a quiet word with him:
According to the Astrophysicists,
The future of Manhattan’s looking grim.

A billion years from now, all the science
Suggests our friendly little sun will swell
Into a red, ill-tempered, gaseous giant,
Devouring my apartment—yours as well.

No mention how this will affect our rents:
This is a funny item to conceal.
Let’s find a lawyer: there are instruments
Available for renters to appeal

Excessive rents. There’s no apocalypse
A lengthy bit of litigation can’t eclipse.

And here is Mr. Overbye’s response

Good luck with God and the apocalypse. I myself am not a very good sport about it. And I will only go kicking and screaming onto the spaceship out of here.


I have a feeling he didn't read the sonnet, don't you? Oh, well. Nobody really reads poetry anyway.

Still, it is nice to know that whatever political differences one might have with the occasional editorial stance of the Times, we can at least agree about scientific matters: that the end of the world would be a calamity for Republican and Democrat alike.

Contrary to appearances, maybe all is not lost, after all.

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