Some can argue it was poetry
that sent us to the moon and that science
was but the tool for realising dreams

while others may say that the main agent
of inspiration was the Soviet threat,
a pissing contest for world dominance,

to fly the flag in view of our planet.
But on the day that Armstrong leaves the earth
for a third time, the footprint that he set

on that dry surface will hold greater worth
for all the unborn stargazers to the come
than any flag that signals who was first

among the proud tribes of our shrinking home.



A bare few million years since the time
that hominin hands fashioned sharp cores
from foraged flint—the day has finally come

when Voyager 1 has dutifully explored
what length it could of our heliosphere,
She drifts beyond the pull of our small star

into the greater realm of nothing where
electrons flare up and snuff out again.
Her signal buzzes on for sixteen hours

before it returns to the human brain
via a field of patient, poised dishes.
The lag will lengthen as she travels on

provided that her hardware never crashes,
or navigates into a comet’s path—
until the fateful day the human race is

no longer couch surfing on planet Earth,
where all carbon based wetware’s been replaced
by programmes that keep working in good faith,

“..watched over by machines of loving grace.”

Canto C

The sight of the moon above the tower block
feels like a greeting from a faithful friend,
although it’s just a lifeless hunk of rock.

It brings to mind Li Po’s alleged end,
trying to hug the moon’s reflection,
the endless black fathoms in which he drowned.

It’s easier to seek the adoration
of a million twitter followers than face
another stranger, eye to eye, to shine

your full attention onto them as they
apply the same attention unto you.
Perhaps it’s too much for our minds to take,

the fact of other minds that also view
the storms of photons through the squishy spheres
that sit within the skull, it’s easier to

project a narrow sanitised idea
of consciousness onto the mindless faces
of alabaster virgins, teddy bears,

those countless barren worlds in outer space.

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