Looking Back…

 

From my window – grey slate roofs,

bird-braided trees peek up from behind

the far factories and fields, sheep-speckled and green

stretch out, a blanket from here to hilly horizon.

All dwarfed by a planetarium dome of a sky

powder-paint blue, streaked with cream, dappled white.

 

From a plane – a vast plate, far, far below me,

here rippled with brown wrinkle mountains, there

spattered with sea, splashed with lakes and

writ with the curlicue script of curved rivers and streams.

White emulsion clouds loom over the ground,

meringues fat with sugary rain. Brooding.

 

From the space station – blazing, brilliant blue

burns the eyes of the brave few

who dare to stare down on Man’s Home-world;

rivers reduced to ribbons now, streams silver threads

to heads held a hundred miles high;

half in light, half in shadow the world whirls

in gaps ‘tween dragonfly wings of star-starched

solar panels – and it’s true: there are no boundaries, no

disjointed join-the-dot margins marking

the borders of our so-called “countries” or “lands”;

just four hands-wide swathes of wet forests and fields

stippled with shadows of wind-feathered clouds,

a waterworld sealed in an eggshell thin shield

of achingly azure-hued air

with cerulean seas surging beneath…

 

From the Moon – an indigo bubble, a bauble

of glittering glass so small a snowy spacesuit’s

glove-fattened thumb conceals it completely from view.

New Earth… First Quarter… Gibbous, then Full:

its phases amaze as Luna loops on her way;

shrunk to a bright blue button

bobbing in black ink Fair Terra will shine beacon bright,

disgustingly water-drenched to the eyes

of  Selene’s dust-etched, dry-throated folk…

 

From Mars – a mere spark, a sapphire-sharp

splinter of light, aflame in the east before dawn

or embedded in dusk’s rosy glow;

“Little more than a star”? No, oh, so much more,

its glacier-blue beauty brings worth-

more-than-their-weight-in-gold tears

to the eyes of the martians, standing

on Barsoom’s rock-strewn streets

while out on the plains white telescopes aimed

at the Blue Star reveal wonders! Tonight: a cruel crescent,

sharp as a scythe and dappled with white, its night

side dusted and speckled with glittering gold

pinpricks where cities and towns fight

to hold Terra’s dark’s terrors at bay…

 

From Pluto – a gleaming silver-blue sequin

barely glimpsed in Sol’s sunflower glow;

flashing as a’fluttering round its sun it goes,

again and again, a moth circling Sol’s flame

a quarter thousand times for each of the

Once Last World’s wheels around its faraway star…

 

From butter-yellow Polaris, most-famed star

in its sky – invisible, sadly; even its mighty

sun is lost, cast adrift in a cruel sea of starlight,

proud Sol reduced to a feeble, faded fleck

of phosphorous light, hemmed in on all sides

by match-heads of nuclear fire.

Famous name stars crowd in around

Her – Alpha Centauri, Deneb, Procyon,

a backdrop of sullen suns crammed

so close together they touch, almost,

hiding and humbling poor Sol with their glare…

 

From M13, that ragged-edged orb of stars

soaring far above the Milky Way’s froth

– no sign. Dangling over its catherine wheel whirl,

Heaven’s hornets nest, the spilled sugar cluster

is so high above Orion’s smallest Spur

Sol’s grand system would be banished from our sight

were we to stare from that celestial crows nest;

poor proud Sol, so shrunk by distance a single

gritty grain of stardust would hide it from

our eyes – if we could tear them, for a moment,

from the streamers of fairy light stars

decorating the Intergalactic Dark

 

– and Earth?

 

Gone.

 

A ghost, lost in the galaxy-light…

 

 

© Stuart Atkinson 2006

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