Each one sits in a tall, enclosing armchair,
Their hands unused, disowned,
Slack in their laps like sleeping rats.
Their heads lean forward, towards me.
Milky eyes peer to see what has been brought forth
To entertain them this afternoon.
From my lectern in the centre of the arc of chairs
I note the palatial architecture, the vaulted ceilings,
Swagged velvet curtains, chandeliers.
I look at my audience and see turtles,
Civilised turtles, wearing slippers, sitting upright,
Protected from each other by their wingback shells.
I could be in a sci fi epic, just landed,
Shell-less, naked as a shucked oyster,
Surrounded by inquisitive slow-time life forms.
I have nothing to bring them but my human pother,
And to assure them I mean no harm, to tell them
My chaotic little planet is still circling out there,
Still swathed in blue and white taffeta,
Tenderly beautiful, still young and reckless.
And I start: I’d like to read you a poem.