For Kyoko (who didnít really understand it but loved it anyway!)

A thousand years on will be born
A human, although not in form -
Her fiery birth, denied the Earth,
Resplendent in a solar storm.

Encased in warm magnetic skin
A million miles from surface in,
The ancient light subdues its might
To nurture foreign life within.

She bathes herself in nuclear fires
And constructs shimmering plasma spires
And gives some thought to what she's taught
Of what her blazing host aspires.

Then in her youth she will be told:
"Don't touch the Earth; the Earth is cold,
And short of breath, and scarred with death -
And more than once was bought and sold.

"Intelligence has long since flown
This scabrous world it called its home:
The Human Race has left this place
To find it never was alone."

Inside the core of Helios
Beneath the face tempestuous
Lay minds intense with thoughts immense
Who sometimes even ponder - us.

For are we not of star-dust formed
And out of stars our life was spawned.
So reminisce; consider this -
We are the sons of Sol reborn.

The stellar furnaces, we learn
Ten thousand million years to burn.
Their fiery thoughts the answer sought -
And seething with intense concern.

Illuminating all through time
The majesty of God's design,
They spin and stew the aeons through
And study notions ultra-fine.

And what have these colossi learned
As noble galaxies have turned?
A concept neat, a fact complete:
No freedom's won; it must be earned.

But what of our dear heroine
With radiant beams to gambol in?
She flexes limbs and neatly skims
To Betelgeuse and back again.

She dances naked on the sky
Then plunges through the nebulae;
Turns briefly back at Alnitak -
A mote in that almighty eye.

She swims in Rigel's photosphere
Then challenges Porrima's leer,
Plays magic tricks with Bellatrix
And dreams in Mirfak's sensual stare.

Yet what of love, I hear you ask
Is tenderness too great a task?
Our goddess smiles, and grave replies
"The love you know is but a mask.

"You sit inside your clammy skin
And think your futile thoughts within
You never wait to contemplate
Where time and space - and love - begin.

"You peer out through your murky skies
And catalogue, and criticize
You never see the poetry -
The glory just beyond your eyes.

"For life is not confined to ground
Condemned to wander planets round
With soiled roots or muddy boots -
It's everywhere - just look around!

"Look out towards Antares' glare
Imagine understanding there!
Consider this: the orb knows bliss
Accepts its fate, and doesn't care.

"You keep your interests discrete
Then miss the grand design replete -
So fill your cup, then tip it up
And love the universe - complete!"

So what are we to make of these
Whose playgrounds are the Pleaides?
They twist and turn and never burn
But ride the waves of solar seas.

To play with phantoms born of space
And coruscate with supple grace -
The fervent joys of cosmic toys
Will be the rapture of their race.

Though alien as life can be,
We share a common ancestry.
Our ancient past returns at last -
Our future children will be free.

© Elwood Herring 6 June 1996


Picture of NGC 2207 from the Hubble Space Telescope website

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