A Scattered Few

Poems of and About Science Fiction

 

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The poems in this group are primarily from the 1960s and 1970s, but some were created fairly recently.  I have made some minor changes and corrections, but generally I have left the poems as they were originally created.  Many of these poems were written in direct response to the plans and events of the Space Race.  As an example, the first poem was written shortly after the announcement of the Mercury Program.  Fortunately, the fictionalized story-line envisioned in the poem never happened.

You will note that some poems have titles and some do not.  I have made the titles bold so they would not be confused with the poem itself, and I have provided a break-line between poems consisting of five tildes or utilized the page break for the same purpose.  To download a printable PDF file of these poems, go to the Poems page by clicking above.

 

Apogee-Perigee

 

Now day, now night, in quick succession fly,

While I in my immense circumference ply

The ethereal void of boundless time and space,

By chance, by fate, shall be my dwelling place.

 

I wheel above a world of malcontent,

A world of hazy blue-green wanderment.

A seething orb of hate and violence,

But in my womb there is no turbulence.

 

The air is antiseptic, pollen free,

Designed by man and checked by chimpanzee.

Though true, it lacks the brace of woodland breeze,

Or briny taste of white-capped wind-blown seas,

It is to me the measure of my life;

Its waning breath will shortly soothe my strife.

 

Old Daniel in the den was naught by me,

Nor Christian hordes when thrown to Leo be

As great a sacrifice as I shall seem,

A lofty star to watch, but not redeem.

 

All mankind’s emotions I will excite

But only briefly will they unite

In declarations they do not feel,

Of lamentations on a tomb of steel.

 

I am safe from molds, bacteria, bugs, and worms

While my soul and St. Peter come to terms.

 

For many years in splendor will I ride,

But then to dust on jet-stream winds to glide;

In every land interred, at last I die,

An arching, fiery glow across the sky.

 

      ~~~~~

 

First Life

 

Drop

A seed

Steel-shelled

To mar the chastity

Of a world

 

      ~~~~~

 

Long Day's End

 

A billion years of lusty life

Have scooped the source

From his heart

While shattered mantle rushes in

To wait the wind of funeral horn

A pyre that gobbles worlds

 

      ~~~~~

 

The Universe

 

Coming from where

Going to when

Expanding

Contracting

Pulsing 'till then

 

      ~~~~~

 

The Outward Urge

 

Come loud

Out of the mud

To venture in

On thoughts of scars

To hear in the quiet

The blinking of stars

Come home

Come home

 

      ~~~~~

 

Cosmic-Shave

 

For a face

That will really daze her

Burn your beard

With a laser razor

Cosmic-Shave

 

If buttons make

You aggravated

Our razors aren't

Yet automated

Cosmic-Shave

 

For a shave

That's slick as a rocket

We've got a laser

To fit your pocket

Cosmic-Shave

 

A three-headed Martian

Made the test

And proved our products

Were the best

Cosmic-Shave

 

      ~~~~

 

Lightjammers

 

Through whirling gusts of empty night

Whispering steel in timeless flight

With arms unfurled against the stars

To catch the winds of light

 

      ~~~~~

 

Christopher Columbus

 

Someday in the future

Man will venture

To the end of the universe

He will fly to the edge

Fall over the ledge

And be gobbled up by dragons

 

      ~~~~~

 

Strange Sensations

 

Jump high off the fifty meter board

Doing flips  pikes  twists

Gentle cartwheels

Coming down thistle-slow

To sink softly in the heated pools

Of the pleasure-domed moon

 

Take two giant steps

Moving like a diver

On the ocean's bottom

But ten times as far

A long tip-toe

In steel-soled boots

Take two giant steps

May I?

 

Hiiissssss

Check your safety-line

Turn on your shoes

Go out into nothing

To stand right-side down

In a shower of light

 

      ~~~~~

 

Takeoff 

 

breath wheezes hydraulic

blood coagulates molasses

every pore fills with mercuric sweat

each trickle a constricting chain welded to the form-fit rack

at last leaden sound falls black

to fill the brain with respite

 

      ~~~~~

 

Exodus

 

The rockets will shuttle them out

The bold

The adventurous

The brave

The hardy

The cream

And the meek shall inherit the earth

 

      ~~~~~

 

Sweeper

 

Black

Spherical lodestone of light

Working like a cosmic Hoover

An unmated irresistible force

Rending the fabric of space

Hole

 

      ~~~~~

 

Telepathy

 

Empathy

The heterodyning of I and Thou

Echoing in the chord of woof and warp

Like simultaneous equations of aura

Locked as binaries in a single modulation

Unity

 

      ~~~~~

 

Alien Worlds

 

Nightfall

The three dancing shadows of giant trade-blown ferns

Frolic in haste

Before the blue-white explosion of dawn

Snuffs them out

Fleetingly

 

Red

Of the longer waves refracted out

From columns, spires, arches, and domes

Grown cold in entropied empire

Inertia of a greatness lost

Dwarf

 

Quietly

In painfully patient rows up-thrust

The city's aeries in silence strain

To hear, to feel a feathered touch

To know again a nestlings cry

Waiting

 

Rings

Of night skies in spectral display

Spinning echoes of moons past

Concentric halos in dust and ice

A cosmic salute, an infinite prayer

Glory

 

Photosynthetic

Jack Frost trees on a summer planet

A gay parade of protective color

Grazing on fields of windswept flame

And only the seas are emerald green

Spectrum

 

      ~~~~~

 

A Revelation

 

A cosmic mace across the stars

Of red-crossed legions and battle mail

Their templar swords in laser light

To bring the Armageddon

 

      ~~~~~

 

The Kids Today

 

What is it with the kids today?

 

Always begging

      give me this

      give me that

Never satisfied with anything

 

Do you think my father

      would have traded-in my space-scooter

      for a new rocket planet hopper?

 

      ~~~~~

 

Martian Desert

 

To strip the flesh and etch your bones

To chill the marrow of your soul

Till dawn approaches with thermals spent

 

But rock and sand still lie in wait

To hold the day into the night

And bring its dancing Furies

 

      ~~~~~

 

Silver Specter

 

An occasional spur of powdery iron silicate

Humping through the magnetic field

Screeching against the bottom of the sand scow

Yawing her slightly then flattening-out

The thin fast wind quartering in

Its gritty riders eating at the steel rigging

Frosting the vision through Clive’s helmet

Rushing from cold heavy night

To hot light day

 

The rudder hisses down in the sand

As she comes about to her last and downwind leg

With a rattle and flutter of shifting rigging

And the clatter of Clive’s efforts to unfurl her spinnakers

Shuddering forward as each billows into place

With the same taught snap as Clive’s little sloop in Nantucket

But gobbling kilometers ten times as fast

Closing on the base camp

A line of electron-fluorescence her herald

 

The men turn-to to see this ship

Again splayed-out in full blown splendor

A silver specter of the past

Ghosting by the present

As Clive reefs her glory

Slips her down the gentle slope of the excavation

And berths her again in her ancient crypt

 

      ~~~~~

 

Early Visit

 

Down it came

      on a pillar of flame

      with clouds of billowing smoke

A strange little ship

      that would wobble and dip

      of ring and hub and spoke

 

A door in the side

      was flung open wide

      and out stepped strange looking creatures

They had shiny suits

      and shiny boots

      and oddly mixed up features

 

Their visit was short

      of a wondrous sort

      and they rose with a thunderous peel

But the story was minced

      for the world was convinced

      that Ezekiel had seen a wheel

 

      ~~~~~

 

The System

 

Flung-out

Fiery young

Like incandescent spittle

On the face of Anywho

 

Swung-out

Centripetal hung

A great gigantic little

On the face of Anywhy

 

      ~~~~~

 

Schizo

 

A golden apple of the sun

Swinging on a branch elliptic

Rapid years and endless days

A lifeless schizophrenic

 

      ~~~~~

 

Surveyor

 

In a puff of leaden dust

It builds its nest

Drills its roots

Runs its tests

Shouts

Then rests

 

      ~~~~~

 

Peek-a-boo

 

Not a heart

But name divine

A hidden soul in cloud entwines

A grizzled head in haut bouffant

Playing peek-a-boo in hot chiffon

 

      ~~~~~

 

Twinkle Twinkle

 

Twinkle twinkle

Stellar light

My but you are very bright

A million-trillion candlepower

Irradiates my home each hour

 

      ~~~~~

 

Alien Contact

 

Revulsion

Pulsating from eye to mind

In waves of nausea

      olfactory reinforced

But hypnotically suppressed

      in fair imitation of the somnambulant Ambassador

Smiling

 

      ~~~~~

 

Gusts of Time

 

And then the gusts of time

Whipped her mantle ‘round her head

Revealing the ageless form of strife

That sucks up meaning

To spit out doubt

Pulsing in conflict

Exploding in death

 

      ~~~~~

 

Earthlight

 

Between the domes by monorail

The speeding coach through silent night

Carries laughs from game to game

Into the dawn of gold earthlight

Soft

Undulating

In through the plasti-steel doors

 

In the uproar of frolic and fun

No one listens

With frantic ear upon the ground

To know the coming of Mongol hordes

Across the powder seas

But they breathe as one

the dome’s spicy air of dreams

 

      ~~~~~

 

The Search

 

We shall search the stars

And all their worlds in tow

With shovel, pick, and gouge

In hope that we may know

 

      ~~~~~

 

Foundation Trilogy

 

Stretching the shape of things that were

To be the shape of things that will

Ghosting the pulse

In rise and fall

Waiting

For Hari

For the Armageddon

For Genesis

For the Mule

In a race across time

Restringing man’s bauble worlds

To circle the neck of Fate

 

      ~~~~~

 

Dune

 

Free

To flit from dune-to-dune

As sand on alien sirocco flies

The desert mouse on dreams of spice

Goes forth to ride the Maker

Men

 

      ~~~~~

 

The Long Afternoon of Earth

 

Come swing with me

In the Banyan tree

Where the fish and termites play

And I will spin a giant yarn

And stop the night at day

 

      ~~~~~

 

Van Vogt

 

From the shops

A beagle’s bark

That sounds to far Centauri

Hypnotic tones

Of tendrilled death

For prey on Rull safari

 

      ~~~~~

 

Trojan Point

 

Lagrangian

Dutchman from the true deep

Compartments filled with emptiness

An outward urge?

A failed seed?

Flotsam

 

      ~~~~~

 

Astride the Mare

 

Sprawling

Craters within craters

Crater rims like arced mountain chains

Impact eroding into hills

Desolation

 

Barren

In the powder of spore-like dust

Only rocks rear up

No dust devils dance

These rock-furrowed fields

Purity

 

Defiant

In the sharp contrast of airless shadow

Time and light in careless play

Eons of rock in fists up-thrust

A rugged crown of ridge and rill

Majesty

 

      ~~~~~

 

A Spot of Rage

 

A king of gods

As befits his size

His violent airs

His poisonous breath

And his roving red rage

 

      ~~~~~

 

Before Banging

 

It is nothing

A static field of quasi-matter

Pinpoint  pulsing  expanding  scatter

In perfect order not beginning

In perfect order never ending

It is nothing

 

But God

Perhaps

 

      ~~~~~

 

4½ Planet?

 

In this whorl which never ceases,

Searching through its endless pieces,

Wondering from what one can see,

Why this great catastrophe.

Its rocks and minerals classified,

Its plants and animals atrophied,

Deposits from its ancient sea,

But still no reason for this to be.

Then in a sieve sand sifting through,

At last a clue, a small brass screw.

 

      ~~~~~

 

Stellar End

 

Nova

And the sun said, “you were but my spittle until you grew like unwanted seed

And now you presume to control the conduct of my affairs

But I say the breath of my wrath will shrivel you as you use me for your grapes

Such is the way of death”

Glory

 

      ~~~~~

 

Project Gemini

 

Defy the parabolic

First Castor

Then Pollox

To meet in a twilight tryst

To join together in metallic kiss

Then parting in joy

Take the path of Archimedes

 

      ~~~~~

 

Adam and Eve

 

Adam

Processors parallel in flowing arrays

Cascading switches, on/off, in phase

A language of logic, enforcing in sets

Empowered by circuits, eschewing of nets

Power

 

Eve

Processors matrixed in cross-link arrays

Pulsing at random, light in a maze

An ethereal language of flow and ebb

Whispering logic, at one with the web

Finesse

 

      ~~~~~

 

Electron Dreams

 

Android

A wraith not God’s in fictional form

That shuns the soul of mortal man

Mocking the flow of heart and mind

And dreaming of electric sheep

Machine

 

      ~~~~~

 

Nebula

 

Hydrogen

Cold plumes of darkness

Waiting in brooding billows

For a seed of gravity

To start the subtle inward fall

Coalescing

Eons slow to start

But ramping exponentially

In bubbles of gravity and pressure

The simplest of atoms

Fusing

In pressure’s heat

To speckle the darkness

With incandescence

Riding nuclei’s clash

Helium

 

 

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