Too Much Dystopia?

Urgent through the lambent air
Stormcrows croak “Despair, despair!”
Dark clouds race against the sun
And the water will not run.
There is nothing here to eat
And the heart will find defeat.
All the iron rails are rust
And our dreams have turned to dust.

What is it that says this trope
Is more powerful than hope?
The star that gives our planet life
Shines on peace as well as strife.
People share both love and meals
Things get better! But it feels
Dystopia’s more real than
People working on a plan.

The arc of justice is too long
To fit neatly in a song.
Indications of the dawn,
Better futures being born
Are too complex and resist
Brief compression so get missed.
Words of hope can seem inane
Platitudes to stifle pain.

And if everything is bad
There is comfort to be had.
If there is no spark of light
There’s no need to stand and fight.
If the world is going to burn
We don’t need to try to learn.
Say it all goes down and down,
We can just give up and drown.

We may suffer a reverse
But not everything is worse.
And a future sun will shine
On a better world than mine.
Through the increments of how
Things are getting brighter now.
Take the slightly longer view:
Make a finer future true.

(Editors’ Note: “Too Much Dystopia?” is read by Erika Ensign on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, Episode 18A.)


Jo Walton

Jo Walton is the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winning author of thirteen novels, including Among Others among others. Her fourteenth novel, Poor Relations, is coming out in February 2018. She has a Patreon for poetry and a real grown up website and wastes way too much time on Twitter @BlueJoWalton She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are much better. She plans to live to be ninety-nine and write a book every year.

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