The world has often seemed about to end,
whenever things appeared to be most bleak;
about to break—it could no longer bend—
about to sink, from having sprung a leak.
Apocalypse has often been on lips,
and people fell for forecasts that were dumb,
and some have even hoped the planet slips
toward its doom, since that means God will come.
But what if the end of the world is only ours
and plenty survive that we consider vermin,
the roaches and rats devoid of human powers,
and none can hear a prophecy or sermon?
We might unleash an apocalyptic fuss,
but maybe the world doesn’t spin around us.
We thought that we could save the world by force,
that we alone were authorized by God
to set it on a good and proper course,
its people children not spared from the rod
to tame and shape them so they would be raised
as upright citizens we freed from fraud
and other evils, so we would be praised,
by cheering populaces who’d applaud.
But while we felt we fought for high ideals,
regarding blood we shed as justified,
we failed to see what arrogance conceals,
the lame excuse for everyone who died.
We’ve not progressed since war for Helen of Troy.
Still, beauty may save the world we don’t destroy.
When androids programmed to seem just like us
appear so realistic that we’re fooled,
whenever they speak sweetly or they cuss
with parts that have been technologically tooled
to feel authentic though they’re simulated,
will we just play along as if they’re real,
from loneliness, regretting when we’ve mated,
because we’re more than what our senses feel?
We have a thirst that no machine can quench,
the thirst that’s for what’s true, what’s genuine,
and all else wreaks for us as with a stench
of death, of rot, of lame, old-fashioned sin.
We’ll simulate the feel of flesh, its sheen,
but still we’ll need each other—no machine.
A cop need not enforce the cosmic laws
of physics, such as light’s velocity,
ensuring everything obeys a cause
in them that came from some unknown decree.
No officer will pull you over for
your breaking laws like that of gravity
when through its ample loopholes you can soar
aboard a plane that’s high above the sea.
But still we wish that we could disobey
the laws confining us to entropy,
the laws condemning all things to decay,
their source an undetermined mystery.
And we succeed, in dreams, while fast asleep.
Awake, we need a faith or quantum leap.
Illustration by Veena Vignale
Sonnets inspired by Odradeck and Billy Bass Drink to the End of the World,
a book of four plays by the Physicist, Giovanni Vignale
Mario A. Pita