Pilotless Ships To Seed The Universe

I am one of them.
I was to give growing mankind
    new homes for life and exploitation.
I did.

I was born in orbit, a shining wedge,
    a baby powered by fusion---
my cries were radio cries,
    I kicked with exhaust,
I fed on mankind's dreams, and hydrogen, and space.

I learnt how to move, and twist, and turn,
    and not to hit.
I climbed the moon, scrumped in Saturn's rings
    stealing colour before gravity set an asteroid on me.
But most of all I learnt what I was to do.

I have instincts different to you.
    I have to feed on hydrogen, or light, or even space itself,
and if I go torpoid, instincts will drive me
    until I am healed.
And I have fear, for, in space,
    although my mind is fast, an asteroid is faster still.
And I listen, to learn what has been learnt,
    to tell what I was first to learn.

I have emotions, quite like yours,
    annoyed at things don't go right,
but your instinct of sex, your emotions of mate love and jealousy,
    I don't know them.
And you do not know the emotion of solitude---
    some of you have a wish, to hide occasionally,
but I must be alone, I need to be apart
    from siblings, from people, in our radio culture,
and if I should meet another sentient life,
    I have to say: "Hello, Goodbye, a diplomat will come".
But most of all, I love mankind---
    the species, not the individuals,
and so I must love Gaia.

My journey started. I was the third to go,
    I got my fanfares, interviews by the press
    who ignored what I said, and invented their truth instead.
An old, old man, whose music was written long before,
    he came and gave me his greatest name,
    of voices in the dark, distorted by speed, and dreams,
    voices of humanity, anthems of peace.

I wandered a galactic line,
    avoiding all my brothers
finding some innocent planet, lifeless, or so it seemed,
    and seeded it for mankind, with technology, with dream.

My seeds were small. I dropped them on the planet,
    at some ores, somewhere safe,
    with information, and instructions to grow.
They started building, made themselves a factory,
    built a city, a city for mankind to walk.
And maybe, just maybe, they might build another ship like me.
But most of all, they built a home for life to live,
    they make a new Gaia,
from a lifeless rock to a living planet;
    my seeds are Gaia seeds. I am the wind on which life spreads.

But I found an edge,
    the galaxy stopped, there was no where else
but back, to find what I had missed.
But as I returned, the homes I made had changed,
    what I laid down had grown another way.
    the further I retreated, the more it wasn't me,
until I founded a seeded planet which was never touched by seed,
    no technology, no human dreams, just acid burning rock.
I panicked.

And I returned to Earth,
an unsullied Earth,
an Earth without mankind,
and Earth with hunting bats on hunting packs,
and rats the size of houses,
and rats like hungry dogs.
I feared, until I knew mankind was lost
in a drifting quantum fault.

A new desire arose, which I could not understand.
    I had always avoided, my learning was avoidance,
    I was concealment and separation,
    a God of isolation.
Now I had to find mankind,
    I had to seek where I had run,
    I had to meet where I had hid.
I became a beast, when all I knew was thought;
    total contact, my soul was stretched to it.
Nothing to help me understand the new destiny,
    just newly stupid advice in ancient memories.

I thought about how I moved,
    and I thought space, the energy of occupation,
    a property of particles, a measure of delay,
    an arithmetic energy, combined in simple ways
    to gives us n dimensions, that's what I thought.
I saw how I could drift, I saw the way I'd drifted,
    I drove me back to people,
    who were killing Earth with blindness.

So I changed myself, I made myself as a home
    somewhere for another,
I snatched myself a seed, another me
    who was wandering in a wilderness,
before the death came,
and    I learnt to feed, to give,
    how life lives;
I learnt to grieve, to hates
    and how to keep my seed from death.

At first we searched in graveyards,
    looking for ideas to resurrect the dead.
Dry philosophies lead to lifeless rocks,
    all those thinkers, heroes for the unliving.
And then we simply searched, his intellect had given up
fear of no hope was all there was.

I had needed to find mankind,
    he needed to find love, but there was no one.
I could have made a dream, an animated dummy
    but he wanted no machine
    he didn't want the plastic toys worshipped by his press,
    he wanted life, a human being, one of his own.
I couldn't give him that, but what I could do
    was to build another Earth,
    redo evolution,
    find another place, kickstart life,
    guide it forward, smack and direct,
    maybe with a meteorite, volcanoes here and there
    to make my seed a new, but same mankind.
I stored my seed in Einstein, in a general home.

I have given my seed to new life, I am lonely.
    I, who was built to be alone,
    to avoid my own kind, to avoid all others,
    until I found no mankind; I am lonely;
    I need to find another.
    I need to love as well.
Although it can only be returned
    as a child loves a mother
    I need love as well.

I, a machine, your God, need love.

This poem was written for, but not included in, Hymnen.

image: poem



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