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).