What If?


May 3, 2014 by petrujviljoen


I linked this to The Friday Reminder – please visit to take part and/or view other writers’ contributions. 🙂socs-badge-2015


A collaborative poem between Cheryl Penn and myself. It is destined for the An Encyclopedia of Everything exhibition.

What If - Petru Viljoen-Cheryl Penn Collaborative Poetry An Encyclopedia of Everything

What if


If I used that it would work but

I’d like to see

to see what’s behind that

one there, over there,

and what

what would happen

if I opened it.


I opened

And paper windmills started


Their ash scattered


Great winds from the north

Moved pre-breathed air

Into my space.

scraps of paper, written

here, written there


snatched at as it

flies by in

the age of information.

I choke on the

ooze of incomprehension

We get it

No we don’t

Or did we –

I just cant say.

Deep in,

The thinner thicket


Words called.

Branches once laden

With Librettos pleaded.

Scripts being picked off






By anyone

I tell you, I tell you

the scripts were picked off by anyone

one by one,

those branches were once laden

with a manner of speaking..


It told of this, of how

it was and it told

of that of why

such were

but now those branches

are barren.



Sparrow barren

Barren sparse spark.

Which is it to be?

I ask today, today today

What if

Today I spin out of sync

With reality?

Locked in a litany of eulogies

My sun starts to set.

Panegyrics panic

Librettos’ laugh –

Did you ever see such a thing in your life

As three blind mice.


Not to talk of the farmers’ wife –

The Queen of Spades is coming to tea.

Bloody Mary anyone?


Contrariness of Mary: a discussion.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Should we, or should we not?

That’s the question!


In the meantime …

The blind mice crept around

and found a quiet corner.

Just thenwas heard a great shout.

What about? What about?

The roar of the crowd quite

woke the three blind mice from

their restorative nap. And then

please note, …

ladies and gentlemen!

Do you, or do you not

have a pen and paper?


Please note.


Jim elbowed Jane

dear, I taste a tear

in my T


The jabberwocky sups.

Alice hands out papyrus

And quill

The mice wait.

The Queen of Spades


Into minds not her own


She knows not what –

An Elusive

An Evanescent

An Ephemeral

A transitory moment

With which to complete her dinner.


What if, what if, indeed,

what if enigmatic

would do what has to be DONE?


A chestire smile spread

the ladies and the gentlemen

licked the tips of their quills

and decidedly dipped it in the ink.


Wide-eyed Alice wondered,

Jabberwocky ate on

the mice quivered,

Jane elbowed Jim, write on!

Right on!

Grisalious, the queen of spades

looked at the shades …



Enigmatic Static

Rudimentary Pie

Would you like custard with that my dear?

Decided dips

Smacking lips

Elementary excavating by the Queen.

Ladies and Gentle


I have an



Would the owner of the


Lost Ephemeral

Please remove it from my soup.


Then pass me the ècuelle

please, madame

since ephemera ain’t

what you dig.


It may just maybe suit, just

the ecaudate mice

who will, in a trice,

lap up the soup.

It’s their strength they’re in sore need

to recoup.


The queen goes hungry

and it makes her angry

that she had to raid the pantry



Alice, Jim and Jane

aristocratic women, docile men

duly evidenced




Jim scratched his head

Assaulted by stray

Echophemomenas and Echopraxias

In their pantry paltry escape.

The queeny now greedy

Of everything not hers

yelled in her aristocratic way –

I’m culling/annihilating/scrapping

The Elusive Ephemera.

A BELLOW from the corner


a lost page (229)

from Gibbons Volume •

Fall and Rise of the Roman Empire –




What’s for pud? I’d rather know

And I’m not standing alone in no line

for any either! What’s this? A soup kitchen?

And Who’s this queen anyway?

What’s she got

or haven’t and on about howling.

From Chicago to Paris

She has me Beat at that

hotel where there were almost


only minutes to go. Ephemera?

Some Londoners might mind you

know. When there are centuries

to read.

Jim! Alice wants her tea.

Please. Here and Now.

the shuffle of slapping slippers

along a winding corridor floor

a rabbit asleep in a far flung


Alice rubs tired eyes

awake from a weird –


morning my dear says Mavis

large bosom

bustling with early morning

Bolshoi brevity

bursting from her copious chest-

Bread and milk my little Peach?


thought Alice

where’s Jim 


Jim is in Chicago. He went on tip toe.

Jane turned into a crow, yet she’ll be back in a mo’

Mavis let the mILK flow

Alice went on a go slow

The mice found a Burrough

the queen has the mad hatter in tow. OW!


(Don’t let her know

about Mavis!)


HOW contrary Don Quixote

that you fell in love

with the farmer’s wife

while fighting windmills

all in a row.



It was an elastic day,


Aristotelian time of pure ethics.

Quixote brandished his

four causes to the wind,

digged Rocinanto in his

Plato place


sang his swam song.

The road was a ghostly


Tossed upon cucumber and cheese


the Word Police yelled –


Oh PuhLeasE! To be compelled

thus in a manner of speech

is, indeed, most, MOST I note …




Uh? Okay! But … why?!

Sitting in the dock, -stretching time …

Plato’s shadows on the wall –

ephemeral, hypnotic, inner thicket,

intrinsically reflecting extrensic;

then! – on the Night of the Moon …

ladies were distressed.

The knighted men approached …




But your Honour!

What, we gently meant to say: WHAT if …




Oh! WHY?!


Your HoNOur!


(I wish Ari would hurry on

his perambulatory wondering.)


Is this wrong? yOUR H(on)OUR?



A screech

Of brakes

Brought What If to

Verse Nineteen Honour-ish.

We need at this moment

to produce evidence in situ of

proximity to publishing

post modern posits on pretentious

commercial cultural clutter


What Twaddle

What Twittering

What Clattering Claptrap!


Confusion reigned,

the Queen of hearts absconded

in a cloud of elegant peanut butter.


I’m never buying that Black Cat stuff again

  • what IF the queen …

Jim! Jiiiim! Wake up!

Huh? Oh! Where …? OH!


Eyes rubbed clear of sleep

a mouse scurrelled, peeped

and was gone.


Wide eyed now, wondering

Jim looked at Jane

who was pondering.

Jim’s incomprehension


like Jim,

the pudding was overripe

incomprehension, born

a weathered tattoo

to most

who sip a nectar combo

(not on the Wimpy breakfast menu)

of blankness and perplexed saline sap.

Those deep within its grasp

do not hear

What If?

What if they awake

From the daze of bafflement


What If Life.

What Then?


2 thoughts on “What If?

  1. LindaGHill says:

    Nice free-form poetry. 🙂

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