Future: a high school poem

Wrote this back in high school (1982/83) and this is still my take on the future…still don’t know what it means, still amused at the effect this word can have on a conversation, a relationship, a dream, a self-image. A lot of the time I am overly serious with myself, trying to get everything just so for “the future” and I can walk around chanting this for days before I get the joke I am playing on myself.


Is there anyone out there
who can possibly help me?
I am stuck in a dilemma
and quite unintentionally.

It occurred to me at night
in my most recent of pasts,
that I don’t know what future is
or how long it lasts.

It happened soon after
someone I know said,
if I don’t plan for future
before I know it I’ll be dead.

Then all of a sudden
it struck me like lightning
the prospect of dying is
really quite frightening

If it can be prevented
by planning and plotting
then I’ve got more to ponder
than premenstrual spotting.

In fluster and flurry
I raced to my bed
and bounced the word “future”
around in my head.

Then the awful realisation
of inadequate education
hit like a time-bomb
with complete exasperation

I fumbled and floundered
as I tried hard to think
between future and me
I could find no real link.

Who is he? What is it?
How can I know?
If future is somewhere
then where did it go?

If it’s time that we’re talking
is it a minute past seven?
Is it early next year
or 3011?

And what should I make
of the time I once heard
“you’ve got no future”
said to some geeky nerd?

Who gets to decide
whether you get one or don’t?
If I have to pass a test
then I probably won’t.

How can it hold things
if you can’t put things in it?
Like babies and jobs
the possibilities are infinite.

When my mother tries to tell me
“in future, eat your beans”
then I will if I can work out
what the hell “future” means.

WatsoniaTech1982See the girl standing next to me, she was the one who organised the after-school public fisticuffs to teach me a lesson. You can get more on that story in the High School section of my original post on racism here, http://gohomeubb.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/go-home-you-black-bitch/



4 thoughts on “Future: a high school poem

  1. swirlqueen says:

    Love it. I guess this is the first in your first book of published poetry?


    • jamborobyn says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lorraine. It has occurred to me how much self-editing I do in apparent consideration for others – we all have excuses for withholding ourselves… The aim right now is simply, to share. When I think about where this will go in the future I go back to self-editing and I thank myself a thousand times over for having written and memorised this poem to break the cycle. Who knows đŸ˜‰


  2. Swarn Gill says:

    Love the poem! Where do find your thoughts residing on the most? Past, present or future? Has that changed throughout your life?


    • jamborobyn says:

      My thoughts are residing mostly on whatever is currently relevant to me. There is never a time when I am not working on a few ideas that have arisen due to some disparity between what I thought and what I now perceive, so my thinking is all about learning and sometimes obsessively so. When I try and design the future (based on what I have just this minute learned from the past) I find myself restricting thoughts and possibilities in the present. I am so concerned with the “truth” that under close scrutiny the “future” can only be a fantasy, as in, it exists only in my imagination and according to my definition of it. It’s cyclical. As a child I was concerned only with the future. These days I am concerned mostly with right now and the way the past and future moves through and impacts that “now”.


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