And now for something completely different…Kepler!
Looking in the far distance, Stuart Atkinson let his thoughts wander between the Swan and the Lyre, the result?
Find us worlds, little one, real worlds!
Not more bloated bags of garish gas racing
crazily ‘round their stars, barely far enough away
from their seething surfaces to escape
being dragged down into their heart-of-Mordor cores,
but worlds where we could talk and walk
on springy, surf-soaked, sandy shores
and climb great mountains carved from stone…
Find us a place Out There where gentle grey rain
would wash our faces as we stood on the edge
of a sullenly surging ocean, feeling soft-scented winds
blowing in from islands oh so far away.
Find us a planet where, slowly crouching down,
we’d find real rocks scattered ‘round our feet,
lying on the dusty ground; a world where cracking
such old stones together would sound like snapping bones…
But there is no rush. Gaze at the glittering star clouds
shining silently ‘tween the Swan and the Lyre
as long as you need; we will wait patiently here
on the world below until you Know for sure,
then you can finally set us free, send our
spirits soaring into a sky revealed at last
to have been concealing Other Earths from view
all along – as many of us felt, but could not prove…
I grew up knowing just one Earth – the one I stood on
when I looked up at The Moon, wondering how
it changed its shape; the one I walked on as I made my way
Reluctantly to school, wishing I could have remained
At home to watch the latest grainy Moonwalk on TV;
The one I gazed down on through my bedroom window,
Blanketed with unicorn white, pillow soft snow
On unbearable, endless Christmas Eves…
But if you succeed, the children of today will need
To find new words to describe the nature of their sky.
Their heavens will contain countless un-named Other Earths,
Each one a blue-green sequin spinning round a distant sun,
Glinting in the dark galactic night like a fisherman’s fragile fly.
And on that wondrous day, when weary travellers from Terra gaze
Down upon the surface of the first New Eden to be reached
They’ll whisper your name as they stand upon a golden beach
On the edge of an alien sea, and, staring at a strange,
strange sky, wonder how it must have felt to be alive
in that dark and lonely time when just one Earth was known to Man…
© Stuart Atkinson 2009
Like what you’ve read? You can find more at Stuart’s astropoetry dedicated blog.