Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Shooting of Franz Ferdinand

A rock beside a road
I walked was cut
but not to mark the shooting
of Franz Ferdinand.

Would world events
have played out otherwise
if he had missed
the target deer, 

that royal boy*
beside the woodland stream
behind the house
that day

I have to wonder.

*"that royal boy" is a reference to Crown Prince Rudolf who shot his first deer at the location described. Rudolf then went on to commit suicide at Mayerling by shooting his mistress and then himself.  Franz Ferdinand, originally third in line, was eventually promoted heir to the Habsburg throne. In 1914 Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. The Great War  of 1914-1918 followed when Austria declared war on Serbia and a large part of Europe rushed to join in seeing it all as a kind of Boys Own adventure.
Apparently there's a technical term for the phenomenon raised in the poem. It's known as the butterfly effect. I came across the term in Stephen King's exploration of time travel. 11:22:63 is the book's title.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.