Thursday, March 21, 2013

World Poetry Day

In case you need an excuse, today is World Poetry Day.  According to UNESCO, the purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.  Why should you care?  Poetry is one of those arts that not only promotes linguistic diversity, but encourages new forms of expression, new ways of bridging the gaps between us, new meaning.  So in honour of the day, I offer you the title poem from my new book which I've written in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson (and which will be launched, with much fanfare, on Earth Day 2013, though advanced copies are available now).

I'll read it to you if you want here:

Or you can read it yourself below.  Once you read mine, I'd like you to share yours in the comments below.  You can share one of your own poems, or a link to a poem you love by someone else, or just talk poetry.  Let's open a poetic dialogue.

Sublime Planet

After so many years of silence
we’ve gotten used to it
exobiology a forgotten dream
lingers in the morning
then dissipates into routine
plenty of life forms to extinguish here
the daily rush to build, bank, close
always moving
towards a future already put to bed.

With all those arrays sitting pretty
dishy ears across the globe
desperate to find
what we instinctively suspect
but just can’t prove
the sound too faint
timeframes out of whack
communication hard at the best of times
it would be so fine to see your face at my door
without proof there’s nothing
but desire
flung across the universe via wormhole
a song of hope
and inexplicable loneliness.

The mediocrity principle
chemical scum, to be precise,
seems likely enough
sublime as we are
Yosemite snowstorm at dawn
Aurora over Antarctica
the number of possible habitable planets
grow daily

sifting hungrily through light curves
to find anything at all
even a whiff of bacteria
bug eyes and antenna shining
your tiny human heart racing
with fear and possibility.

Somewhere among 125 billion galaxies
in the observable universe
never mind the rest
the multiverses that line your pockets
full of zero sum extraterrestrials
visiting before we were ready
leaving their mark, and maybe even DNA
a thumbprint ancestor
you hope will find us,
youthful and charming,
smiling back, ready
to share.

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