Ode to ALSEP
Ode to ALSEP
With all the world waiting, we turned our eyes skyward.
Remember that day when we all looked through
Our electric windows on the universe,
Seeing old spheres from a new point of view?
Three times again, and again, and again,
Descending on dancing flames,
They scurried, slow-motion, through ancient dust
Who still now remembers their names?
They did the unthinkable, achieved the impossible,
Went where none had preceded, and more.
"Ho-hum! ...another launch, you say?
Is football on Channel Four?"
Mechanical colonists left behind
When we blasted back home in our ships
Drew life in their bellies from shattering atoms,
Energizing electronic chips.
They sensed the heat of ancient fires,
Moon-embers, banked deep inside.
They felt the star-bits streaming,
And the rumbling silent tide.
ALSEP voices, talking to Earth
In chattering bits and bytes
Sent their colonial treasures back
Through the lunar days and nights.
They measured the limb-shocked solar winds,
Changing the charges in sputtered lands,
And vibrating signals crossed the void,
Twitching inked fingers on metal hands.
The footprints and tire-tracks, unchanging, remain.
Like paths to the future, they glisten.
Solipsistic sentinals converse with themselves,
But there's nobody left who can listen.
George Hastings October 1, 1977