a spotty little urchin

carrying a burst

previously ‘best-ever’ football

making his way home

a fish and chip supper


an impressive ruby red scab

on his elbow to pick at

managing not to walk upon

bad luck cracks in paving stones

perked him up a little

better still

a stroke of amazing luck

in the first instance

it did not seem that way

before him

lying in the gutter

a ragged old book, a big book

reading bored him shitless

the title caught his eye

‘A Guide to Time Travel for the Common Man’

curiosity killed the cat

he gathered it up

thumbed through the pages

coloured pictures

not just glaze over words

the book clearly been binned

the boy claimed it as his own

tucked it under his arm

continued homeward bound

wondering about time travel

would it work for him?

later in bed

under the cover

of a superheroes duvet

fashioned as tent

the book resting on crossed legs

a ‘read in the dark’ torch at hand

he unravelled the simple secret

of travelling through time

both back and forth

upon reflection

that the pictures

were total shit

mattered not

all he had to do

was place the palm of his right hand

upon the book

decide where and when

he intended to travel

whisper a swift prayer like thing

(the words of which he must never disclose to another living soul on pain of death)

twice click his fingers

‘job done’

the heavens timeline

his proverbial oyster


he would not be able to deduce

how to click his fingers together

until a good few years later

the thing is

it worked

the boy

now a spotless fledged handsome chap

became a kosher time-traveller

his wristwatch

a redundant piece of junk

no requirement

of permanent dwelling place

when in time’s own domain

wherever he laid his book

was his home



  1. Delightful Mike! Books can take back in time or forward, to the most magical of places. Beautifully written tale.

      1. Me too. I have totally neglected books. A friend has loaned me George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda…I’m on page 9 of over 700 pages. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

      2. The festive season may be a fine time for a brief break. The sheer joy of a glass of red, a good book, central heating pumping away, stretched out supine upon a settee reading a novel is, I think, a must!

    1. All down to ‘Ms S’s Theory of Not Deleting Things’. This, and the Joan of Arc piece were once together in one short story that didn’t make the cut…well, didn’t get Shirl’s seal of approval. It is thus I must thank you. The me of old would have pressed the button faster than Trump.

      1. Well, that just goes to show how subjective writing is. I feel it is kind of this magical poem about something magical. You have nailed that totally. Had you just binned the originals then you’d not have this or the Joan one. x

      2. Mike, you don’t need lessons. We just all want to chuck things that someone didn’t like or we think is shit is all. You just need to remember to find somewhere else to stash it.

  2. This is one of my favorites of your work so far, Mike! It feels very liberating, and with the added bonus of a young boy taking up reading 🙂

    1. Cheers Carolee. Even at my ripe old age of 115 I still thumb through the book from time to time. What to do this day? Tea and scones with Oscar Wilde or St Tropez with the young Bardot…methinks the latter. ‘Tis fun this time-travelling I can tell you.

      1. I don’t blame you for choosing Bardot 😉 So this is an auto-biographical poem? Was it inspired by any particular book?

      2. The source of my claim to be a time-traveller is…oddly…Facebook. When registering with them they wanted my date of birth. As a one time, long term PI I know enough never to put my dob in the public domain. Armed with a birth date a miscreant with consummate ease could become me! It is thus I selected the oldest dob that FB allowed, hence I am 115 years old. Not long after that a small child overhearing me telling the parent about my dob on FB piped up and asked me if I was a real time-traveller because I was so very old (can’t see how the kid made that quantum leap). I could but say ‘yes’ and have been writing bits like this for ages every so often, as the fancy takes! There you have it…the honest truth of the matter.

    1. Backwards for me…always backwards. Might share a milk bath with Cleopatra or perhaps take coffee in a Montparnasse café in or about 1925…can’t decide, although I’m guessing Cleo would likely not share with me…coffee it is then!

  3. It took me long time to learn how to click my fingers together 🙂
    Beautiful poem. Time is a very interesting thing. It either goes too fast, or too slow. We either have to wait, or are late. It seems we never learn how to handle Time. I have my own explanation to that: there is no time in the world we came from 🙂

    1. And yet, travelling backwards in time each of us has our own particle…no matter how long we lived, a second or 100 years we are still there in that particle. I find ‘time’ the most interesting thing.

      1. Yes, it is the most interesting thing. It is a common knowledge that Cosmos has no beginning and no end, which means that the concept of time is not universal. As you say, each of us has our own, personal, unique particle.

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