A Perspex monolith at the edge of town
Opens its doors to a wave of odious intellect;
Glossy signs and fat pamphlets tell me:
These are these finest minds in humanity.
A balding gentleman is bent over himself,
Struggling to tie his shoelace.
The fraying carpets of a previous administration
Hint at fleeting glories that have since passed;
Important looking notices tell me:
THIS IS THE MOST VITAL CONFERENCE IN HUMANITY.
Flyers in our welcome pack advertise
River cruises and nights at the opera.
Free wine and coffee combine to create
An atmosphere of compulsory enjoyment;
Conference assistants and helpers tell me:
This is the friendliest conference in humanity.
I see a former colleague and bow my head,
We pass like kidney stones in the night.
Early career researchers skirt the
Gravitational fields of the professoriate;
Coloured ribbons and rainbow badges implore us:
This is the most diverse conference in humanity.
At the plenary panel four white dinosaurs
Warn of their extinction.
I walk across the cavernous lecture theatre,
Palms sweating with nervous excitement;
The introductory slide sets out my argument:
This is the most important topic in humanity.
My words trickle through the audience,
Lost amongst the emails and polite applause.