There have been maybe two or three times in the past thirteen years that I’ve had to sort of “punt” for a Tuesday FAH post, and here’s one! I took this week (partially) off to finally finish some much needed home repairs, and there were a few other things that just sort of intruded on my life in the past week…

Anyway, please enjoy this poem, which has been rejected by six literary magazines and so lives here now…


A Tendency to do Nothing or to Remain Unchanged


pas de poivrons sur le mein

cela vient-il avec de poivrons?

sont-ils épicés?

dites-leur que je ne veux pas de poivrons sur le mien

Et Moi?” by Xixenio Volumnia, Comte de Sang-froid (1464-  )


In a universe of uncaring violence

A world of opportunity

A nation of winners

I run on inertia

And precious little of that


Decisions made so long ago

Decades ago now

Long enough ago that no memory of their being made is left me

Finds me where I am

Where I have been sat, or I’ve gone

If there is a difference


Here, but for the grace of

From there by the grace of

And nowhere left to go with grace of

God, or her, or them, or me, or everyone

Of chance


Here, but for the grace of chance

Have come I

To run

On inertia


—Philip Athans


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About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. DM Woolston says:

    Hey Philip thanks for sharing this! I like it since it makes me think that we all experience this. Heck even the planet we currently occupy can say the same thing. Good that you used the word ‘inertia’ instead of ‘conservation of momentum’ as it wouldnt have worked as well 🙂

  2. Joy Pixley says:

    Speaks to me. In my own voice, weirdly. As in, if someone had told me this was a poem I wrote but had forgotten about (inertia and memory problems, my two old friends), I would totally have believed them. So I appreciate it on a profound level.

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