Seasonal Poem: Ark II


Ark II

            Captain’s Log, Earth-date December 25, 2121:

It’s time
The jigsaw puzzle sky
Is backlit with the dawn
Of a new age; the fowl
Have already flown South
And all the beasts of the field
Have scattered; over the ridge
The ocean grows black

           ~~~

Prepare for launch
Electromagnetic storms
Approaching, atmospheric
Ablation, imminent

           Cargo is secure, Captain
           Winds southwesterly at three zero knots
           Temperature forty degrees Fahrenheit
           Temporal rift materializing at twelve-o-clock

Main engine start on my mark:
…three, two, one…
Engage rotating fields
<emergency alarms activate>

           The hull’s creaking, Sir
           Approaching stress limits
           Throttling

Good
Monitor telemetry
Maintain trajectory
Accelerate to zero point four light-speed

           Stabilizing
           Magnetic coupling complete
           Going superluminal

           ~~~

           Target galaxy on sensors, Sir
           Descending through Virgo cluster
           Engaging dark matter decelerators

Well done
Planet on screen
Calculate orbital insertion
Prepare to land

           ~~~

Release the animals
Plant the flowers and herbs
And these two trees, the evergreens
           In the middle of the garden

______________________________________________________________________________
John C. Mannone has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His forthcoming collections are Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2021) and Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2022). A retired physics professor, John lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

He is poetry editor of Abyss & Apex who contributes a seasonal poem every January.

Backstory: This poem originated from an Ekphrastic workshop and a photograph of the setting sun backlighting some would-be storm clouds. There was something inviting about the luminosity while still portraying an ominous mood. Weatherscapes are often excellent mood-instillers or setting-suggesters. The “dark” clouds coupled with a feeling of doom and pending disaster reminded me of the Biblical flood and the ark, which played into this futuristic poem with a spaceship providing salvation. But the poem evolved beyond that and suggests a different mythology. Ark II is set up as a dramatic dialogue adapted for a poem.

Image credit: Rocket launch (wallpaperflare.com)

This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.