The Cosmos Revisited
(Alicia Sometimes)

Posted on August 11, 2010 by in Heightened Talk

‘If we go far enough back, any two people on Earth

have a common ancestor’

Carl Sagan

I sit with a postcard that a friend has sent me from Izmir

flicking the corners with my thumbnail

listening to 'Mood Indigo',

whipping up theories on the beginning of life.

I think of myself

as I did when I was a child.

without earth, without space,

without time.

I once heard that if you read one book a week

for the rest of your life

you would be well versed, but

it is only one tenth

of one percent

of all the books, in all the libraries

in all the world.

This gave me a feeling of cosmic loneliness

of galactic togetherness.

I had written in a song to a lover:

'When you said you wanted space

I didn't think you meant the Milky Way.'

Time & space are fused.

It takes around seventy-five years

for the light of Corona Borealis to reach earth.

Each time we gaze at this constellation

we are looking at it

when Hubble was still demonstrating

the universe was larger than our solar system

when Sigrid Unset had won the Noble Prize for literature

voicing the words of a restless generation.

a time of jazz & lipstick & Art Nouveau.

My grandparents had barely known one another

still too shy to ask each out to a dance.

Imagine a time before the song 'Imagine'

imagine a time before nuclear power

a time before industry

science, libraries, before words.

a time of grunting & survival

a time before kisses & lodestars

before the neo-cortex, the limbic system

in the early days of the R-complex

before we could taste & smell

before sex was invented

when we were single cells

before rock was formed

before planets cooled

before matter

a time before time.

We are the stars’ junk & treasure.

with bad sit-coms, war,

physics problems, pimples before a date,

politics, the clandestine, famine,

cause & effect, neo-thermonuclear power,

cryogenics, gene manipulation, buildings,

backgammon, phone calls, parents, alchemy,

postcards, music & pursuit of meaning

these are just a few of the things

hydrogen atoms do


fifteen billion years of evolution