The Spaced Land

Stephen Livesey Ashworth, July 2004

Contents: Vision 1, Vision 2, Vision 3, Vision 4, Epilogue, Notes

(The purpose of the dash is to indicate where a strong beat
in the rhythm of the line is to be passed over in silence.)

First Vision

– Falling silently – so I seem to be
– I feel weightless yet charged with velocity
– Staring eyes of light – burning lanterns
– Tracing lines of invisible valleys
– Countless more shine in random directions
– Every way I turn – up, down, left and right
– They watch passionless, clustered in multitudes
– They wait motionless – as I hurtle through
Chasms in vertigo – breathless emptiness.
– All around me a luminous ring,
A silvery mist of dimensions unthinkable,
Girdles this endless nocturnal abyss.
– Till at last I see, this side of infinity,
One star growing in – luminosity.
Closer it brightens; my eyes can interpret
The golden-ink barcode revealing its secret,
For here is the signature – of a sunny star.
– Will this spectrum at last end my spectral flight?
– Has my clock struck the hour of dawn?
– Here there must be found – such a welcome sight:
Somewhere to rest my feet on solid ground,
Under the shade of a blossoming tree,
A place that’s alive with the smells and the sounds
Of the wind and the sea, of the chorus of everyday
Praise of all creatures, the great and the small,
Where I can learn from the wise and the wonderful
– Birds of paradise, lush floral tapestry,
Soft sunlight washing its hair in a waterfall
– Tiger-eyes cruise the forest with teeth dripping,
Jointy-legs feeds on a quivering soul,
Stinging and biting and tearing and ripping,
Innocent blood weeps its unwilling fall ...
– Well at least I can – in a cruel Eden
– Find a refuge from deep space’s cold
– Breathe sweet air again – smell the morning dew,
Warm my frostbitten toes.
– To the pleasant zone – I decelerate
– Searching for what I boldly anticipate
– Fussy Goldilocks – not too cold or hot.
– Here it is I think – steady orbiting
Crescent of comfort but – where’s your fragrant-sphere?
– Why so grey your face? – why an old coat of
Dust all the modesty draping your naked rock?
– You are far too small – yard of builders’ waste!
– Poxy pebble-world – you’re not mine at all!
– Hide your birth-scars away from my scrutiny!
Know that my trek is to seek out new life:
– Show me where to find clean air, earth, moisture
Wrapped in a green-blue egg circling this star-hearth.
– But the hollow void echoes no answer
– My sad asteroid has no big brother
– Through the sky-desert – spirits lowering
– I fly randomly – till at last I see
– What can only be big trouble lurking.
– As a spider sits – at the web centre
Digesting tender bits – of unfortunates
– So there wipes its boots on the star altar
Brazenly facing the solar corona
Preening its garish clouds – bloated star-skimming
Hydrogen giant where – no such monster
In the temple of life ought to sit.
– Billion years ago – when the worlds were young
– When a misty cloud – spun a proto-sun
– Giant welders above the ice line
Constructed valhallas of snow, stone and hydrogen.
– One vast pile of – awful planethood
– Slipped its moorings and – inward spiraling
Dyspeptic Jupiter – spitting thunderbolts
Smashed and scattered the Goldilocks worlds:
        Hey you – planetesimal!
        Weakling – terrestrial!
        Obey – my gravity!
        Death to – your longevity!
– So you think you’re a home of romance?
Flowers and sunsets and lovers perchance?
        I’ll sling – you into the dark
        Ocean – of infinity!
        Freeze out – your biology!
        Dream on – of what might have been!
– So you planned on a haven of life
– For the birds and the bees and the mice?
Don’t dare to resist for I’ll swallow you whole!
Or crunch you to fragments and wear round my middle!
Or shatter your face in a contest of bowls!
Or drive you down into the star-fire furnace
To burn like a sinner in hell!
– Drifting quietly – as I turn my back
– On this shrugging star – and its bruiser sidekick
– So I pass by an infalling comet
– Bearing water that no-one will drink,
Carbon connections that never will think
– Frozen air nobody will breathe,
Diamonds that’ll never be engaged in a ring.
These wandering dirt clods will – never learn to sing
– All their carbonates – all their icy cubes
– All their silicates – all their metals too
– All their light, their heat from the yellow sun
– Will remain as dumb – now and ever more
– As they ever were in the beginning.

Second Vision