We found him aboard a strange looking craftMick McKellar
In orbit, near death, in some kind of sleep.
We woke him up there, in that strange life raft.
He opened his eyes and began to weep.
His eyes had no tears and he had no voice,
He looked like us, with some variation.
He didn't make landfall by his own choice —
We'd found an ancestor, an Ancient One!
Though immensely old, yet healthy and well,
He studied our world, how far we could roam.
He wrote why they traveled here to dwell,
And why he wanted to journey back home.
We built a fast ship to travel, to find,
And to visit the home of humankind.
To find our origin, we'd traveled far:
A blue marble circling a yellow sun.
When we found a dead planet near that star,
I heard a small noise from the Ancient One.
He had uttered a nearly silent word,
A word that encouraged old memories,
In a tone of voice I had rarely heard:
A desolate voice, to make hot blood freeze.
His eyes looked for wonders eons away;
Whether distance or time, I could not tell.
He shuddered, and slowly began to sway —
Was he seeing Heaven or glimpsing Hell?
As though he had witnessed his very birth,
Just once, with reverence, he whispered: "Earth."
The Earth was shrouded in airless winter,
Its atmosphere had been blasted away.
The surface was black — a burned out cinder,
And nothing remained, no reason to stay.
They watched as its sun spit a plasma stream,
That missed the planet and their little ship;
And knew, as though seen in an awful dream,
What killed harbor and haven for their trip.
They returned to Harmony, man's new home,
Without the Ancient One's hope and glory;
And never again did the old man roam,
Instead, telling all his planet's story.
Years later, knowing how well he had tried,
The last son of Earth smiled sadly and died.
Eventually, every moment of now becomes ancient history and every story, no matter how grand, comes to an end. If humankind is to survive either a natural disaster or our own greed, we must reach for the stars.