Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Alone (Poem)

I saw a fascinating little documentary on SETI (the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) a couple of months ago when awake with insomnia, and it's been stuck in my head ever since. In particular, the unpicking of the Drake Equation (maths equation that purports to work out how many extraterrestrial civilizations there might be) and the role of the Firmi Paradox (which asks the simple question - if intelligence is so common, why haven't we encountered any?) has been causing me to ponder. This is the outcome of these thinks.

Many are the stars.
White ice fractured on the inscrutable mask of god;
dwarfs and giants, neutron bombs and tauri,
stars in their main sequence, like our own

Stars that hold exoplanets in squeezing embrace,
millions upon millions, spinning around the light:

planets where anything might live
petri of their own mitochondria
life reaching towards the pulsing energy of the local sun.

Anything at all -
bug-civilizations and nanite empires
democracies of wraith-creatures born in sulfur
thousand-year-livers and brief flaring butterflies
teeming bacteria without limit or end
sentient and sapient, striding their natal dust:

or, of course, planets where nothing might live
no biology to disturb the chemical soup
no life to turn towards the warmth, and say: We are

The tyranny of distance meaning, of course,
that unless one of us learns how to unpick the seams of the universe
we will never find each other, whether we look or not.

so each, functionally, practically: alone
We are.
We may be legion.
We may be the only children of an overwhelming multiverse.

For now, though: We are.
The sky tells us nothing more; the hidden god shrugs
and we keep listening
in radio telescopes and dreams

We are.
Alone, we are.

- Kathy, 14/06/16

No comments:

Post a Comment