Google Galaxy


If a sleek silver saucer

were to land today, its hatch hissing

open to reveal a Klaatu and haughty Gort

standing there in all their silvery glory,

what presents would they have brought

to take to our illustrious Leaders?

A vial with cancer’s long-awaited cure?

A Jack and the Beanstalk space seed

which, when planted in Earth’s barest,

driest dirt would feed a billion?

Volumes 1 to 2 Zillion

of the Wikipedia Galactica?

A well-thumbed Interstellar Dummies

Book of Planetary Management

on long-term loan from the Orion Spur’s

branch of the Great Galactic Library?


In my mind cool Klaatu

lifts his shaking hand and in every land

around the world PC screens

come suddenly to life, flashing up a pin-sharp

image of a smoky spiral, recognisable

to some as our home in space.

Each computer infected with the long-dreaded

alien virus – an ET “GoogleGalaxy”.


What a gift it would be

to see the Milky Way from Beyond.

Above or below, I wouldn’t care,

I’d just sit and stare at it

hour after hour, basking in the sight

of its smoky light and whirling arms of new

blue stars and blushing, rose-hued



Imagine having a grandstand view

of our sparkling spiral home, a Google

Galaxy to roam at will,

to tilt and pan and zoom into

to your racing heart’s content.

The black hole at its centre

marked with convenient label

and a pin.


Hour after endless hour I’d play,

sweeping first this way then that,

finding Betelgeuse and Scheat and all

the other stars seen ‘til then only

from below; flying slow at first then

plotting Warp 9 courses through

the golden sun-packed star-clouds

of Sagittarius and Crux…


Selecting “Shopping and Services” would

disappoint: no all night stores to be revealed

across the Galaxy’s mighty wheel,

and choosing “Roads” would show us fewer entries still.

But clicking “Terrain” would stain the Milky Way’s

star-forming wombs a fertile, peacock blue

and “Borders” boldly show its star-shingled shores,

lacy arms whirling from its egg yolk yellow core.


But what strange, wide-eyed delights

would highlighting “Populated Places” reveal?

Ancient Empires stretching up

and down the glitter-dusted Cygnus Arm?

Proud, multi-system Commonwealths

stealthily concealed within the surf

along the star-frothed Outer Rim?


Or is there just the one?

Does a single, slanting pin pricked into the waves

of the Orion Spur betray Life’s solitary spark

in the Deep Dark of the Universe’s soul?

Could I scroll for hours

in search of other hearts

and minds and yet find nothing?

Proving, once and for all, We Are Alone?


Finally, with Earth marked as a Favourite Place

I’d turn my face to Magellan’s cluttered Clouds

and turn my back on Home, roaming

at will through star-clouds thick with suns

then simply run away…


© Stuart Atkinson 2006

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