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Letter to an Astronomer

Stephen Oliver (accompanied by Matt Otley)

                                          Starry amorist, starward gone,
                                                         - Francis Thompson


                                        Make no mistake - we arrived here first, by pathways
                                        mostly forgotten, hinted at maybe, in the clinging moss on
                                        gutter and drain, by ruined foundations, under destroyed
                                        civilizations. Look no more, we are the visitors we
                                        seek come via starburst and interstellar dust, riding the cold
                                        chariots of comets, destined to make the biggest splash: -
                                        hominid, Neanderthal, homo-sapien sought to track back
                                        to what 'Courtyard of the Gods', multiple or singular,
                                        in search of the primal spark, can hardly be guessed at.
                                        Our breath might be read within the banded spectrum
                                        of your inquiry that magnifies the sky's falling domino;
                                        by wingbeat of light fleeing across the great glass lens.

                                       Looking down through the whirligig
                                                                               of immeasurable galaxies


                                       will lead back again to the filmic awe over the retina as
                                        you seek to locate by the interstices of deep space an echo
                                        in nothingness. Granaries of knowledge (gravity's burden)
                                        we laid down in ancient geologies; when we rested,
                                        cities rose, when we walked, cities fell. Make no mistake
                                        there'll be neither alien ship nor coded message exchanged,
                                        merely (coming in under radar) signs of our passing
                                        in time, most fluid of inventions - condemned forever to
                                        rush forward, condemned forever to rush backward.
                                        The orchard is rotten, the field beyond, cloaked in the
                                        dandelion or wildflower waits for the plough or the sword.
                                        Memory's digital code recounts something discarded,
                                        as though God looked away for an instant after creation
                                        and like uncertain visitors we fled from his hand as we fell.

                                        (from) Either Side The Horizon, Titus Books (2005).

Letter to an Astronomer - Stephen Oliver
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