stellar by no starlight

by Vance Roberts

okay
so you lie on your back and gaze at the stars

maybe
if it's a good time
you have a hand to hold
the blotting paper of companionship
to help soak up the simple fear of being
if things are not so good
just let ideas walk around inside your head

at first it's only the usual stuff
universe is a big place huh
what's outside infinity
why doesn't the bottle hold more vodka
can a lost antipodean lover see the same star

then that bastard science fiction physics creeps in

because those stars are so far away
their light takes thousands of years to get here
this means that
in the meantime
they may have given up their astral ghost
gone
(four-for-a-pound)
black hole
supernova
or one of those other things which spacemen are so keen to avoid

so what you are seeing isn't there any more
but it is here
if you started walking back down that road of starlight
you'd find
way out in the middle of nowhere
that you were on a cul-de-sac

(go easy ye of literal mind - i know we'd see the bang or whimper
but i don't want that)

a beam of light with no source
because it stopped shining
before you ever stepped foot or thought upon it

turn around and wave to your dreams
tell them what you've discovered

too bad
they're lying on their backs
looking at old light

by the time they see you

                    ............ you're gone

Copyright © 2005, Vance Roberts

After many years in England, Vance Roberts moved to the Isle of Skye in 2003, having taken early retirement from teaching when his voice gave up the ghost. He now spends his time writing, speaking huskily and playing various wind instruments to the bemused wildlife he encounters while out walking.