"Termination Shock, Voyager" by Ann Schwader


Ann Schwader has a been active as a sf/f/h poet for over 20 years. Much of her work is concerned with the romance of space exploration, though her work does have a dark, nihilistic side to it.

The poem below first appeared in the sf/f poetry prozine MYTHIC DELIRIUM and has been reprinted in her collection WILD HUNT OF THE STARS (2010).

"Termination Shock, Voyager"

'But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean
says something very hopeful about life on this planet'
-Carl Sagan

Beyond last breakers of our solar ocean
turned tidal pool at last the wind subsides
to murmurings of of star breath, hardly motion
enough to matter. Yet this bottle rides
another, silent swell-its heart decays
by incremental deaths of isotopes
propelling it a few more precious days
or years towards the fulfillment of our hope
to know & to be known. A bit of all
we are awaits inside: volcanoes, thunder,
a mother's kiss, a kookaburra's call,
snowflakes, sand dunes, & conception's wonder,
the Nile from orbit, endlessly unfurled. . .
the faith of pilgrims sailing off the world.