My Poem ‘Sputnik’

It’s six o’clock at night,
on a cool spring evening,
and I am looking out my window to the sky
at a beautiful gold and blue light,
watching the sun setting –
and the sight of it takes my breath away;
and within seconds,
I watch the sky go from red to grey,
as all that I see becomes draped
in the dark veil of twilight.

I watch the stars appear;
I see the planets rise;
I see the ultimate display of the constellations,
and I name them one by one, as I imagine them;
and then, when I see the constellation of Orion,
I am awestruck by how wonderfully its stars
shine so clear, and my entire vision
is that of an infinite number of stars in my eyes.

I spent my day taking in nature,
listening to the world around me,
being captivated by birdsong,
and watching the building of bird-nests
in the branches of the trees above,
and in the hedges of the ground below;
I spent my day believing that I knew
all in life that I could ever need to know.

Right this second, I feel like a satellite;
right at this moment, I feel like I am alone in space,
and no one even knows I am here –
because I am just a faint moving white dot in the dark sky;
right now, I feel so far away –
like a distant flickering candle
in the window of a cottage atop a hill;
and barely noticeable –
like a star of the night;
now, I look down,
and around at everyone else on Earth,
and I see what I can of their lives:
I see true happiness,
and I wonder what that feels like.

I look up at the moon;
I gaze up at the stars;
I see the heavens –
the place from where we all came from,
and I dream that I may return there soon;
I imagine that I can reach up and touch the sky,
because in the dark the void of space
does not seem that far.

Every human being has looked above
on a star-lit night, and wondered:
are we alone in the universe?
And, is anybody else out there?
I have asked myself that very question,
and I know the definitive answer –
and I speak that answer aloud every night.

Everybody sometimes goes into their own
“hibernation mode”, in which they appear
to leave their worries in another place somewhere;
I have always found it difficult
to remove myself from the world,
and not think about what is always on my mind;
some days I wish I could be a living, breathing,
astronaut floating in space –
or a part of Earth, circling the planet,
like the very first satellite: Sputnik.

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