We hasten to leave,
lest in clinging to the cradle
we make it our grave.
We've managed to give what was left in us to give,
Not all at once, but in a wave.
The reports are undisputed on only one detail:
the constellations disappear.
First fade the giants, distant and luminous,
breaking apart these connect the dots
, past three thousand light years,
slips out of sight, and the Swan is left tailless.
Each craning his neck, each straining his eye,
sees all the swift colony ships, rising high.
Columns of fire and smoke multiply,
marvels within and without.
at the Hunter's knee
is gone within the week, and Betelgeuse
shoulder departs in the same gasp as Antares
finally crushed by his great foe. Homes are evacuated. Interstellar vessels are filled. Stasis machines are tested, checked, checked again. Coma induction medications are mass produced.
And miles above Earth, we wait as they die,
singing our songs as we bid it good-bye,
each in his berth at the edge of the sky,
we're watching the stars go out.
The puzzle of it all
is that they don't seem to be dying.
All instruments detect no change
in gravity, and the simple expansion of the universe
has not justified our observations,
for nearer stars have gone before those farther away.
was gone before Vega
, and all of the Centaur
passed at once, yet Sirius
We hurtle through space, we sleep as we fly,
each of us dreaming he'll someday know why,
now understanding (we hope, and we try!)
what Sagan was talking about.
Some few of us remain awake, to monitor the machines in shifts. Some sit vigil over Sol
, awaiting the instant it, too, will wink out and leave us in the empty dark. We are left to conclude they are leaving, not dying.
We are left to speculate why.
Perhaps they have gone to seed and scattered, dandelion clocks
out into the night, carried on their own solar winds,
or kicked into motion with the pealing laughter of some cosmic child
We're singing the stars their last lullaby,
saying "farewell and goodnight" with a cry,
we never expected they'd send a reply -
not "farewell" but "FOLLOW!" they shout!
Not all at once, but in a wave
We'd managed to save what was left for us to save,
so take what we have:
lost and clutching at a candle,
one handful of light.
Iron Noder 2020, 5/30