Thursday, July 31, 2008

The silver footed blorks of North Arkiti

The silver footed blorks of North Arkiti
Are the most expensive animals in space.
Hunting was abolished by a treaty
But their flesh is so mouth-wateringly meaty
That incidents of poaching still take place.

Its wool is prized in fashionable society
From Cundra to the asteroids of Zong.
It should not be cut off with impropriety,
But harvested with reverence and piety
To make sure it’s replenished thick and strong.

Its milk has been described as golden nectar,
Elixir of the gods, Arkitians claim.
The firm’s all-powerful managing director
Is the wealthiest food magnate in the sector,
Built upon the blork milk’s far-flung fame.

Racing draws an audience of billions,
With omnivision rights now through the roof.
Not only have blorks legend’ry resilience
And leap the fences with athletic brilliance,
But also they possess great speed of hoof.

Yes the silver-footed blork’s a wondrous mammal,
Reaching up to fifteen menzines tall
Withstanding drought much better than a camel,
With shiny antlers of high-grade enamel,
It is perhaps the finest of them all.

The circle of life

Humans never figured how to travel,
So stayed within their tiny solar system.
The physics were too tangled to unravel
And though they had the clues, alas! they missed ‘em.

Without the means to garner fresh resources,
Technology could make no further gains.
People turned again to gats and horses,
Tethered to abandoned cars and trains.

Closer to the sun, dense vegetation
Dried and withered in the seering heat.
Disease and famine smote the population.
Animals were wiped out for their meat.

Hunting food, the world became nomadic,
Sleeping under cliffs or in small caves.
Tribes became aggressive, yet sporadic,
Wand’ring o’er a million billion graves.

In the desert, ape-men slowly dwindled
And gradually slunk back into the sea,
Waiting for the fire to be rekindled,
Waiting for someone to turn the key

The breakthrough

The galaxies all spiral round in space,
Some outside our telescopic vision.
Some have disappeared without a trace,
Imploding with a natural precision.

Once we thought that’s all there ever was –
Matter merely in our own dimension.
Partial understanding though, because
The concept was too great for comprehension.

But since Littbarski’s stunning revelations
‘Bout different universes, different spaces,
We’ve filled the blanks in our imaginations,
Viewed things from an omnipresent basis.

Sleep and dreams, telepathy and karma,
Miracles, coincidence and thought,
The powers of the shaman and the lama,
All revealed at once in one report.

We’re only at the start of understanding
How every space can interact with ours,
But now the breakthrough’s come, we’ll be demanding
Total exploration of these powers.

Permanent Fimanent

If you’re outside of the city on a fresh and clear night,
The stars that light the firmament present a wondrous sight.
To sit and watch the movement of the mighty constellations
Must surely rank as one of the most engaging occupations.

Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Cassiopaeia,
Aquarius the Water Bearer, Ethelred the Queer,
Jonothan the Ambulance, Parsenon the Newt,
Not forgetting Ribbentrop, the Double-Breasted Suit.

But when I gaze upon the stars, I’m filled with fear and dread,
Those billion zillion tonnes of matter perched above my head.
I know that they are far away and doubtless will not fall –
What worries me is whether they are really there at all.

Without reverting too much to an astronomic lecture,
The stars and their existence is a point of mere conjecture.
The distances themselves might be the source of the confusion
Presenting us with what might be an optical illusion.

Save for the Sun, the nearest star lies four light-years away,
Within this myriad of light we call the Milky Way.
So when we gaze upon a star, what we in fact can see
Is how the bastard used to look, way back in history.

It really is quite spooky, looking back into the past,
Before the time of dinosaurs, before Elastoplast,
Before the birth of Marvin Gaye, before the earth had cooled,
Way back into history when only Chaos ruled.

The point that I am trying to make requires a stoic mind,
Providing, as it does, for the destruction of our kind.
And if you’ve given out a loan, or started on a course,
The implications of this thought will fill you with remorse.

Supposing that, three years ago, the universe collapsed,
But we will not find out until another year has lapsed.
The light from even the nearest star will take a year to reach us,
Before we get an inkling of the death of all God’s creatures.

So when I gaze upon the stars, it isn’t with humility,
Rather it is with a sense of our own fallibility,
The stars that I can gaze upon perhaps do not exist,
So I am going to spend this next year permanently pissed.

Time to go

It’s time to go, Larbowski thought,
As yet another jet of steam
Fired high outside the spaceship port.

He tried to catch a fleeting dream
That flickered somewhere in his mind.

The purple ocean fizzed and crashed
Against this island ill-defined,
As soot rained down and lightning flashed.

This continent, this vast domain,
Where drops of life-spawn first emerged,
Had shrivelled to a tiny grain
Of sand that soon would be submerged.
The screaming wind howled loud with pain
As land and sea and sky converged.

‘Tis not the planet of my birth,
But still my halting breath is caught
To watch the death of Mother Earth.

It’s time to go, Larbowski thought.

Martyr


They said it was a union, a means to bolster trade,
“Empire” never figured in their speeches.
The “common good” was cited why a treaty should be made
Between those at the galaxy’s far reaches.

No missile strikes or laser bombs had ever been employed,
The conquest had been courteously financial.
More than mere space dust linked those planets through the void,
And the benefits at first were quite substantial.

But then effusium subsidies attained an all-time low
And rumours came of unrest ‘mong the miners.
There’d been a lengthy boycott of the airport in Mondeau
When there’d been a blockade of spaceport liners.

Anti-Dongli slogans had been seared on Council walls
In worlds as far apart as Ska and Humming.
The promised large investment in the Aconada Falls
Had never, claimed the rebels, been forthcoming.

But though great hardship beckoned if secession should take place,
The Nationalists still spoke out for it strongly.
Cut the economic ties (the slogan grew apace)
You cut the chains that bind us fast to Dongli.

But there were Dongli citizens throughout the trade accord
And Dongli wouldn’t stop, said the Prefectum,
At deploying all the weaponry that it had wisely stored
For they would stop at nothing to protect ‘em.

And that, my darling children’s how your father lost his life.
On Ska they built a golden statue to him.
But sometimes kids amid the current economic strife,
I do not care a jot how people view him.

National Security

“Goddamn! It was our patriotic duty!”
Podolski shouted from the wooden chair.
“For you, the whole shebang is tutti-frutti.
For you, there are no anarchists out there!
But in my world, subversion’s all around us.
It’s difficult to tell who’s friend or foe.
Those who strive in secret to confound us
Are people that we like to think we know.”

The prosecutor pressed his hands together
And gave a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.
“Mister Podolski, can I ask you whether
You actually believe these bare-faced lies?
Senator McClinton from Kentucky?
Senator de Fraine from Tennessee?
And all those others who were just unlucky
To have opposed your boss politic’lly?
You’re telling us, the people and the nation,
That all of these are en’mies of the state?
Linked to some subversive org’nisation?
Seeking to destroy all we create?”
The prosecutor turned, his arched expression
Seeking to evince complete surprise.

Podolski lounged back, giving the impression
He didn’t give a damn ‘bout swatting flies.
“Listen bud, you’ve really no idea
‘Bout the private lives of those we bugged.
I know what lurks beneath that bright veneer.”
Here Podolski paused awhile and shrugged.
“You want me to reveal the conversations
Of McClinton and de Fraine and all the rest?
Are you prepared for all the revelations?
You sure you want to put me to the test?”

He’s like a cobra, thought the prosecutor,
Cold of blood and lacking all compassion.
In days of yore, he’d pack a mean six-shooter
And kill you in an antiseptic fashion.

The bugging had been clinical and chilling,
A little chip installed inside a tooth.
Thirteen bugs, each hidden in a filling,
Until a drunken dentist spilled the truth.
Security had been the reason cited,
Each victim had at least one dubious friend.
Podolski was the first to be indicted
And no-one knew quite where the trail would end.

But before the prosecutor’d time to answer,
The judge’s gavel smote the hollow bench.
“Adjourned until tomorrow,” said Judge Dancer.
“Clear the courtroom – there’s an awful stench.”
The prosecutor rose in protestation
But withered ‘neath Judge Dancer’s sternest gaze.
Deep down he knew at once the situation –
Pay the money and the piper plays.

McClinton and de Fraine met at the Hilton.
De Fraine could only nibble at his bread.
“Don’t worry,” said McClinton. “Pass the Stilton.
Tomorrow Piers Podolski will be dead.”


An Unprovoked Attack

‘Twas only a comet, a poor harmless comet,
Searing a trail through the blackness of space,
All kinds of gases were streaming out from it,
This poor, harmless comet we chose to deface.

It wasn’t a danger to human existence,
Trajectory-wise, it would come nowhere near.
It gave no offence and it showed no resistance,
The sizable distance held nothing to fear.

It minded its business, while shining out brightly,
Its orbit a million miles distant from ours,
But scientists charted it daily and nightly,
And thought it unsightly, compared to the stars.

The ambush was sprung and the signal was triggered,
The missile flew out in a one-sided war.
The large, gaping hole in its surface was figured
To render it jiggered right down to the core.

Why did we attack it, this beautiful body,
Slicing through space in its innocent bliss?
The arguments for it are futile and shoddy –
In truth, there’s nobody can justify this.

It still stumbles blindly, this sad, wounded comet,
Shot down inhumanely for human conceit.
Great oceans of red blood are streaming out from it,
This poor, harmless comet now dead on its feet.
.
Published in Astronomy Ireland

Evening

The universe is rapidly expanding,
Shooting out from one small central point.
Its at the boundaries of understanding.
All time, it seems, is grossly out of joint.

From any point in space, all universes
Accelerate away at rising speeds.
And as all matter there-within disperses,
Einstein’s Law of Time then supercedes.

The night sky stars will gradually grow fainter,
As they accelerate throughout the void.
Our views of space will doubtless grow much quainter,
Our thinking, though, will stay quite humanoid.

One day other stars will be so distant,
‘Twill be just like the start of all creation.
The blackness of the sky will be persistent,
We’ll believe we live in isolation

The darkness all around us will be total,
Save for our own lunar pantomime.
Tales of stars will just be anecdotal,
Lost among the memories of time.

Dad has retired from the buses

Dad has retired from the buses
After 42 years at the wheel.
He says he don’t know what the fuss is
For you’re only as old as you feel.

When he started, his route was a short one,
From the Moon out to Io and back,
Though the journey was often a fraught one
With asteroids lying ‘cross his track.

And then he became interstellar
On the hyperspace bus to P.C.
‘Twas there that he met Barbarella,
Or “Mum” to my brothers and me.

He was struck by her radiant beauty
As she served her sweet pancakes and toast
And after his next tour of duty,
They were married on Triton’s Gold Coast.

Thirty years now of hyperspace jetting
In and out of the Great Neptoid Gate
Has meant that he’s only been getting
Old at a much slower rate.

I’ve made one short space hop to Priam,
‘Tis a sedent’ry life that I’ve had,
And it’s meant consequentially I am
About seven years older than Dad.

Breaking news

Breaking news is coming out of NASA,
It’s brought the world of science to its knees.
It may be hard to think of something crasser,
But the moon is made entirely of green cheese.

Years of analysing lunar samples
Confirmed the dairy content at the core.
The breaking news now mercilessly tramples
Over all the theories heretofore.

Astronomers are said to be uneasy
About the content of celestial spheres.
A theory once considered to be cheesey
Has now usurped their thinking, it appears.

Astro-physicists are very wary
But can’t deny the data now produced.
Big Bang has been followed by Big Dairy,
The chickens, seemingly come home to roost.

A little bit like Roquefort, said a spokesman,
Drizzled with the seeds of pomegranates.
The news of the discovery should coax Man
To further exploration of the planets.

Accident or Design?

At the anti-matter fact’ry, things were humming.
Another cargo load of waste was coming.
‘Twas landfill gathered from the Planet Zatta
To b4converted into anti-matter.

The factory was somewhat controversial
A Government decision, not commercial.
Each planet in the sector was consulted
And a blueprint for the factory resulted.

But though all said the factory was needed,
For quandules its construction was impeded.
For though most of the planets could absorb it,
No-one wanted it within their orbit.

At last, through tax incentives and some bribery
(Five per cent and a new galactic library)
Planet Gray officials were instructed
To make sure that the fact’ry was constructed.

At the cutting edge of anti-matter,
And despite the growing nationalistic chatter,
Landfill waste was clinically converted,
With very little energy exerted.

Historians can’t figure out for certain
Exactly what sparked off the final curtain.
We know the cargo ship from Planet Zatta
Crashed into a vat of anti-matter.

Did the pilot have a sudden seizure?
An onset of mechanical amnesia?
Or was the dreadful act a lot more sinister,
One which took a martyr to administer?

All that’s known is most of Sector Seven
Was blown to smithereens and went to heaven
In less time than it’s possible to say
“I told you” in the tongue of Planet Gray.

Eternal Flight

The plane was about to begin its descent,
When the earth gave a pop, and then vanished.
The pilot looked round and his eyes quickly went
Onto the control that he brandished.

With muchos suspicion, he looked up and down,
As if something was trying to throw him,
But no runway, no airport, no village, no town
Appeared up above or below him.

He took down the speaker and said, “Please don’t panic,
But there’s something extremely weird.
Whether it’s heavenly, whether satanic,
Our dear old earth’s disappeared.”

The passengers let out a massive great cheer,
For many were due back in work.
They showed no confusion, or panic, or fear,
And none of the crew went berserk.

The pilot came sheepishly out of the cabin,
But nobody thought he was rash.
As he said, when a man in a hat started gabbin’,
There was no earth on which they could crash.

So they joyfully wheeled out the duty free trolley,
And drank to the health of the plane.
And they all got incredibly merry and jolly,
And they never were heard of again.


Pluto – The Psychological Ramifications

Astronomy’s finest had gathered,
With faces as stony as granite,
And blithely declared
As a stunned press corps stared,
That Pluto was just a dwarf planet.

“The decision has not been reached lightly,
And most of the congress has voted.
The count should be trusted,
It’s all done and dusted,
And Pluto is henceforth demoted.

“It may have an elliptical orbit,
A spherical shape and large craters,
But it’s just far too small,
Lacking in wherewithal
To retain its old planet’ry status.”

Now I’m not really learn├ęd or clever,
No science-based qualifications,
But I wonder out loud
If this space-minded crowd
Has considered the ramifications?

If you go into work in the morning,
And you’re hauled in to speak the boss,
And he tells you that you’re
Back to sweeping the floor,
Would you not feel a little bit cross?

Now, multiply that by ten million,
And imagine how Pluto is feeling,
Depressed and deflated,
Un-app-re-ci-at-ed,
Convinced that there’s been double-dealing.

The students of planet psychology
Are very much learning the ropes.
There are no case-studies
By Freud or his buddies
To watch how an ex-planet copes.

We really should keep watch o’er Pluto,
To make sure it does nothing silly,
Like losing its gravity
Through wanton depravity
Or wandering off willy-nilly.

Who knows what a planet is thinking,
When its standing’s so cruelly reversed?
Can it live with the shame?
Might it take reckless aim,
And crash into Neptune headfirst?

Counselling should be considered
To counter the obvious shock,
And each IAU voter
Should be on the voter
To watch the poor lad round the clock.
Written on the occasion of Pluto'd demotion to a minor planet and published in Astronomy Ireland



I’ve Seen Uranus

I’ve seen Uranus through a telescope,
It looked so round and white,
Yes, I’ve seen Uranus and what’s more, I hope,
I will see it again tonight.
June 2003

Billy’s Questions

“Why can’t we have wings,” said Billy to God,
“The freedom to soar through the air?
It takes oh, so long when you’re walking along,
It takes ages to get anywhere.”

“ Why can’t we have screws,” said Billy to God,
“To open our chests when we please?
If we could look inside, it would be a great stride
In the fight against pain and disease.”

“Why can’t we have fur,” said Billy to God,
“It would help to protect us from cold.
Just think of the cost of the body heat lost
For the poor and the sick and the old.”

“Just think of the time,” said Billy to God,
“That we humans spend sleeping and dozing.
Think what we could do if we did not have to
Waste hours inert and reposing.”

“Why must we have teeth,” said Billy to God,
“That hurt us from cradle to grave?
Were they made of steel, how much better we’d feel
Just think of the toothaches we’d save.”

“Why don’t we have minds,” said Billy to God,
“To remember the things that we learn?
Not to have to go look up some paper or book
Would really do us a good turn.”

At length came a moan like a roaring cyclone,
And God gave his answer to Billy:-
“I’ve heard all your questions and clever suggestions.
Now, push off, and don’t be so silly.”
c.1998

Astral Microscope

There they live in mild hysteria,
Petri dish full of bacteria.
Single cells and colonies
Spreading sickness and disease,
Defying all their natural forces,
Devouring all their world’s resources,
Like a cancer slowly creeping
Through the body while it’s sleeping.
Amoeba-like they reproduce,
Replace the old cells of no use.
Obviously they’re far too small
To have a living soul at all.

But as they spread their poison slowly
Over everything that’s holy,
We keep the sample locked away
At the centre of the Milky Way.
Some say they ought to be destroyed,
Vaporised throughout the void.
But the government has shown defiance,
Preserved them in the name of science.
Seemingly it has no fear
They might escape their atmosphere
I wonder, would it give them hope
To know they’re under a microscope?
c 1999

Dublin Street Trader 2020

“Electricity! Electricity!
Get your lovely ‘Lectricity!
A pound a bag,
Two pound for three!
Guaranteed by the E.S.B.
Two hundred and forty
Volts D.C.!
Recommended by the EEC!
As sure as me name’s Felicity,
‘Tis the very best
‘Lectricity!”
November 2002


U.F.O.


They travelled long through hyperspace
From a galaxy far distant,
Intelligence, combined with grace,
Bacteria resistant.

They’d mastered well the time-warp drive
With nuclear propulsion,
And viewed our will to stay alive
With uncontrolled revulsion.

It took them eons just to reach us,
Through the space-time axis,
Surely they would stop and teach us
Why we should pay taxes.

Surely they could teach us all
The riddles of existence?
How to see around a wall?
How to conquer distance?

But no, they came and went one night,
Most unspectacu-larly,
Leaving, for mankind’s delight,
Some circles in our barley.
August 2003

Your Roving Reporter

“I’m in a town called Dublin in the Northern Hemisphere,
Observing the religion of the people living here.
Their secular beliefs appear uncivilised and tribal,
I think that I can say that without any fear of libel.

Once a week, their God descends from heaven, without warning,
His grotesque machinations give the people ample warning.
And, when they hear him roaring, people keep their kids indoors,
Doubtless fearing that they might get snapped up in His jaws.

In order to appease him, every house must pay a price,
And offer up an animal in gruesome sacrifice,
The animal is kept out in the yard or in the shed,
And scraps of food and household waste are all that it is fed.

It’s commonly referred to as the Jumbo Refuse Sack.
The poor dumb creature has a skin that’s smooth and shiny black,
Its molecular metabolism’s similar to plastic,
But the speed it grows within a week is really quite fantastic.

And, when the Sack is bloated so it can’t move from the spot,
Its ears are taken savagely and tied into a knot,
And then its left outside the door, or maybe at the gate,
So full and fat it can’t escape its grim, predestined fate.

And then the God comes snarling with His faithful old and thin men,
Expressionless executioners, colloquially called Bin Men,
The God’s cruel mouth is in its arse, He opens it up wide,
And the poor defenceless animals are flung with force inside.

What thoughts must flicker through the Sack’s pathetic, tiny mind,
Awaiting the mad deity-with-terrible-behind?
How must it feel to watch his fellow creatures lightly thrown
Into the gaping, crunching mouth, abandoned and alone?

These Dubliners should play no part upon their planet’s stage!
To think there’s still such barbarism in this day and age.
Perhaps its something in the genes, passed on to them at birth –
This is R-J-6-11, Astral TV, Planet Earth.”
Written August 2002