limitations of logic


They’re digging at Sandringham, open cut,
the hunt for the lost Six Ten
that diverted from its accustomed route
and burrowed in the sand.

This morning from my cottage
on the edge of the Sandringham pit
I saw pantographs protruding,
spines of a fossilized dinosaur,
and now the spools on cranes are
grinding sure and slow, steel cables taut,
extracting the commuter carriages
with unexpected tenderness,
not to rend their couplings.

For thirteen years it’s traveled far below,
but today the sunlight’s harsh reality
will illuminate the Sandringham Six Ten.

Marion on the sofa is reading poetry,
unaware of imminent revelations.


By midday, I can see a dozen carriages
resting on a bed of wooden sleepers.
The doors slide open, and as I watch,
the passengers, unexpectedly alive, detrain.

A fantasy, unreal, yet it’s
happening right outside the window.
I express my concerns to Marion.

Perchance a dream, amor, a mashup,
a conglomerate where logic is on holidays.
On a scale of stormy to D Minor,
how would you rate the day so far,
its intrinsic plausibility?

Outside, the passengers glow and dance, some are
calling loved ones on their mobiles,
and when reporters prod them with a microphone,
they smile and check their watches.

I relay the situation to Marion,
rating it as overcast on Bare Mountain.
She doesn’t seem surprised.

Experts have foreseen another Sandringham
in the subterrain beneath the current suburb.
I expect they’ve come from there,
and by the way, it’s all a dream, most likely.

A dream, but who’s the dreamer?
My vision of the Sandringham Six Ten
is untoward,
but this is Melbourne, after all.

Tell me, Marion, in your reading,
does reality take its place,
a passing moment of lucidity perhaps?

She shakes her head.

I’ve searched and searched
verse by verse
for a skerrick of commonplace sense
and come up empty handed.

Mystery solved, the dream is hers,
and I’m no more than a marionette,
a dreamee in Marion’s midsummer cast,
yet I have one pressing question:

Are we on for dinner at the trattoria tonight?
I’ve booked our favorite table, but if I don’t exist
it might be best to cancel.

Mussorgsky night on the bare mountain (1867).


20 thoughts on “limitations of logic

  1. oooh. Dee-lightful. All the way through to the lighthearted landing. You have such a Simpsonesque way of expressing the beautiful absurdities of life. The depth and the humor and the poignance. Every stanza’s a gem, Steve. Love the title, too!

    • Okay, I don’t know what Simpsonesque is but if it means a bit different I’m very happy. Not that I try to or can even see it myself, but I’ve been told that a few times.

      Logic is hard to apply to dreams, in fact I’m not sure it applies all that well to human reality 🙂 , best to accept that we’re not meant to be logical. Thanks BG.

    • Thanks Vanessa. I do like Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition especially. I enjoyed writing this piece, but logically :mrgreen: , whoever is dreaming, it’s going to be dinner for one anyway.

      Being serious (really) I’ve invented a device that will tell you whether you’re awake or dreaming. Unfortunately you can only use it when you’re awake, because the dream version of the device might not work as intended 😀 .

    • Hahaha. No, but now you mention it, it’s a good idea, whether it determines you’re dreaming or not, a bucket of water is fair enough 🙂 . I’ll have to consult my legal team (all wood ducks) about liability though.

    • haha yes I thought it would work nicely for both scenarios. Occam’s Razor or some such thing hahaha
      Oh, and I am most interested in hearing what your legal team thinks 🙂

    • I know you’re expecting this and I don’t want to disappoint. It’s mostly quack, quack quack quack, and quaaack quaaack. The last is zombie duck, who’s au fait with libraries of case law.

    • Wow Steve, I appreciate the prompt reply. I am impressed at how well you must work with your legal team. Zombie duck hey? I can’t respond to that with a straight face…hahaha oh that is quite an image in my mind…

  2. I seem to recall being a semi-regular passenger on the 6:10 to Sandringham. I got off at Hampton, so must have missed the underground. Nice write, again, Steve. Well done.

  3. Always a delightful novel inside your poems that are both dreamy yet crisply worded…of course, there’s the added enhancement of your illustrations that deserve an entire comment apart from the verses. Lots to think about this morning!

    • Thanks again Poet <3 . Sometimes I dream of a little illustrated book with quoted praise like yours. Of course I'd attribute it to the NY Times or whatever hahaha.

  4. Do I understand correctly that night on the bare mountain inspired this text? That music always speaks to me in words 😊 your writing is fantastic as always

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