Fear Of Infinity

By Peter Halstead


I seem to have this
Consuming fear of the abyss,
I normally am not deterred
By the meaning of a word,
But this one struck a certain chord,
An analytic smorgasbord,
And now it’s all I can to keep
From falling in the vasty deep,
Which Baudelaire called the “abîme,”
A word that makes me want to scream,
Implying as it does the absence there
Of every sort of anywhere,
Or a black hole, which is so scary
It’s been deleted from the dictionary,
Or in fact been sucked right out
By a kind of covert whiteout.
A certain fear I wouldn’t miss
Is the fear of nothingness,
Which whether it’s a pro or con,
Doesn’t matter if it’s gone,
And if it’s actually true,
Doesn’t take a high IQ
To see that nothing in itself would matter
If nothingness composed the latter.
A word that means there is no text,
Must be quoted out of context.
But anyhow, if I’ve some fear
Of phobias that don’t appear—
Apeirophobia for one,
I might as well be scared of none,
As if nothing’s here to stay,
Then fear of something’s déclassé,
And if the fear’s infinity,
It’s just too far away to see,
And best apportioned to our betters:
It’s easier to be scared of letters—
I find finite things more eerie—
Just keep that void away from me!