a poem by Paul Butters, UK

We watch from space
Safe in our spaceship
As a small rock planet,
That has orbited it’s star
Over seven and a half billion times –
All those billions of its years –
Is peeled away
And eaten
By that very sun
That gave it birth.

Two and a half billion years before,
This star ran dry of hydrogen
And grew
From yellow dwarf to red giant.

Now, nothing is left of three of its worlds,
All engulfed by flame
As the sun grew
Into a giant ball of death.
All history is gone.
Nothing to show
For countless civilisations
That adorned the third planet.

But oh what’s this?
We spot a tiny spacecraft!
Must reel it in.
Examine it.

It has a name:
“Voyager 1”
Inside: a Golden Disc!
A Golden Record.
We can play it.
Images of hairless bipeds.
Ancestors from that third planet.
Sounds of animals and someone laughing.
Images of bipeds taking sustenance.
And best of all
More sounds
Of something called “Rock Music”:
A being called “Chuck Berry”
“Singing a song” called “Johnny B. Goode”.
For we have feet too
And it makes them tap.

Paul Butters

© PB 12\12\2019.

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