SEARCHLIGHTS

Behold! The Great Geysers of Enceladus!

I was sure I would be eighty years old

Before I saw them: an old man, thankful that

I could still see anything, let alone the universe’s

Wonders, on my screen, or whatever fantastic machine

Displays pictures in the fading light years of my Old Age.

Yet there they are, bright searchlights beaming

Into an ink-black sky, sweeping for spacecraft

Creeping and sneaking past in the dark;

And there – an almost auroral curtain

Of creamy light, like a veil of fine lace draping

From an invisible rail… How beautiful,

How impossible; space art come to life, a sight

Never seen by human eyes before – plumes

Of silvery mist spewing who-knows-what into

The void, as they have for aeons…

No sleek and streamlined Enterprise flew through

This Narnian scene of alien snow and frost;

But a fragile metal moth, sent fluttering from

Distant Earth to fly swiftly past and glance down

At the shattered ground rushing silently past below;

At the axe wounds hewn from the icy moon’s

Crust; at the landing lights line of bright blooms

Leading the eye from the crumpled horizon…

© Stuart Atkinson 2009

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