The poetry society are having a poll for the poem send into space as part of national poetry day. You can vote for one of their shortlist,or nominate another.
Details here [www.poetrysoc.com]
thanks Linda, I just voted!
There is a better one than Macleish's Epistle?
It may be a tad presumptuous to think the readers of said poem(s) will speak English, I suspect.
And I think they'll want to know more about us than what we think about them. And of course they'll understand English, they will have been following the Archers (an everyday story of country folk) for years.
An inspired choice from Hugh, certainly better than any of the eight on the website selected by Poetry Society members.
If something much shorter is preferred, I'd vote for:
The earthe goeth on the earthe glistering like gold,
The earthe goeth to the earthe sooner than it wold ;
The earthe buildeth on the earthe castles and towers,
The earthe sayeth to the earthe, all shall be ours.
except that it has no title and is anonymous, whereas the voting for 'Other' has to be by giving the title and author's name.
James Elroy Flecker's 'To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence' would be a good one if the space capsule were to be sealed for a millenium, not a century.
PS: The typo gremlin lurks everywhere on the Internet these days. Line 31 of 'Epistle' on the marcopolopoet site should start 'The trees do not know'
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2005 06:24PM by IanB.
Hugh, thank you for posting the link to Macleish's Epistle. I was not familiar with it and I enjoyed reading it a lot.
Whenever I try to imagine how the Earth looks as seen from space, this poem comes to mind:
La terre est bleue comme une orange
Jamais une erreur les mots ne mentent pas
Ils ne vous donnent plus à chanter
Au tour des baisers de s’entendre
Les fous et les amours
Elle sa bouche d’alliance
Tous les secrets tous les sourires
Et quels vêtements d’indulgence
À la croire toute nue.
Les guêpes fleurissent vert
L’aube se passe autour du cou
Un collier de fenêtres
Des ailes couvrent les feuilles
Tu as toutes les joies solaires
Tout le soleil sur la terre
Sur les chemins de ta beauté.
Paul ELUARD, L'Amour la poésie (1929)
(The earth is blue as an orange
No mistake the words aren’t lying
They give you nothing more to lilt
At the turn of hearing kisses
Fools and amours
She her mouth of conjunction
All the secrets all the smiles
And what vestments of indulgence
To believe her entirely nude.
Wasps flourish green
Sunup occurs around the neck
A windowed necklace
Wings covering leaves
You have every solar mirth
All the sunlight on the earth
On the ways of your lovelihead.)
Hmmm ... The Macleish link disappeared for some reason. Here it is in Google's cache:
In case that also goes bye-bye, I will try a copy with the < pre > tag to see if it preserves the formatting:
Epistle to Be Left in the Earth
. . . It is colder now,
there are many stars,
we are drifting
North by the Great Bear,
The leaves are falling,
The water is stone in the scooped rocks,
Red sun grey air:
The crows are
Slow on their crooked wings,
the jays have left us:
Long since we passed the flares of Orion.
Each man believes in his heart he will die.
Many have written last thoughts and last letters.
None know if our deaths are now or forever:
None know if this wandering earth will be found.
We lie down and the snow covers our garments.
I pray you,
You (if any open this writing)
Make in your mouths the words that were our names.
I will tell you all we have learned,
I will tell you everything:
The earth is round,
There are springs under the orchards,
The loam cuts with a blunt knife,
Elms in thunder,
The lights in the sky are stars –
We think they do not see,
We think also
The trees do not know nor the leaves of the grasses hear us:
The birds too are ignorant.
Do not listen.
Do not stand at dark in the open windows.
We before you have heard this:
they are voices:
They are not words at all but the wind rising.
Also none among us has seen God.
(. . . We have thought often
The flaws of sun in the late and driving weather
Pointed to one tree but it was not so.)
As for the nights I warn you the nights are dangerous:
The wind changes at night and the dreams come.
It is very cold,
there are strange stars near Arcturus,
Voices are crying an unknown name in the sky
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2005 03:18PM by Hugh Clary.
I voted for Craig Raine's A Martian Sends a Postcard Home
I can think of lots of poems I'd like to send into space - that cold plums one for a start - the trouble is I wouldn't want some poor alien to pick it up and decide on the strength of it that earth is in the way of a superhighway and totally expendable.
Could be worse, Marian, could be Vogon poetry!
Perhaps instead we could send a poet into space?
With or without a life support system? (This may affect my choice)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2005 03:23AM by marian2.