sábado, 21 de junio de 2008

Humming Ship


Poem by Kenneth V. Bailey (1978) - Based on (C) Tim White's illustration:

In some far system, where the moon-lit evening skies
Are splashed by lights of verging nebulae,
Men heard our sullen humming symphony,-
Heard over swamp-filled forest-land the cries
Of frightened birds, and saw our bright and cutting beams
Piercing their planet's skin, probing its seams
Of mineral and rock. And to that lightning rod
They knelt and prayed, as to a sudden god.

Our asteroid, hard-warped by stress of interestellar flight
Into hypnotic multitudes of planes,
Moves demon-like on dazzling, disappearing vanes
Above these lowlands, splintering the tropic night
With emerald flares, disrupting cloaks of trees and moss
Long centuries have spread across the plain, fountaining dross
Of roots and soil and crystal spar to make their bore,
Lasers unmasking gulfs of fissionable ore.

The humming spells our power; and yet its plaintive undertone
Tells of our sadness at the universe's rim
As gods we seem, omnipotent, inviolate, our hymn
Of power surrounding us; yet more a prison than a throne
Is our great mining ship to us. We travel far,
Free-faring, gloriously from star to coloured star -
But home is distant, time is harsh, and we
Have more of exile in us than of deity.

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