The man aboard the roller wore a mask;
I found that very odd and stared a while.
I briefly saw his eyes, they squinted, as crushed sloes,
Adjudicating hard the road ahead.
They did not shine as kind eyes surely must,
But languished tired and sullen, dulled with dust.
His face lacked nose and mouth and chin,
I searched, in vain, a reassuring smile,
But no smile came, his manner leaden still.
He had a job to do, I heard him say
At first he would not state from whom he came
Or what his master’s purpose was.
“We’re here to change old ways for good” he growled.
The past and all its courtesies must now
Be left behind, be vanished dreams;
I’ll quickly crush them underfoot, old man”.
“Perchance another race, another day,
Will find them quaint and risible, no doubt!”
I felt I saw the blue mask slightly crease,
His chuckle morphed into a hollow croak.
Then he was gone, high in his cab he left
Riding the time machine, to other idle tasks!
Anthony Slingsby, February 2021