Tuesday Poem: That’s Far Enough

That’s Far Enough
Unexplained force acts to slow Pioneer and other deep-space probes [news]

Like rotifers in a puddle
staring at the sky
we can look but not touch

It’s gentle at first
that force
but insistent

stay within the solar system
and no harm will come to you
you will be allowed the illusion of freedom

but stray too far
and we will have to take steps

nothing unpleasant, you understand
but the subtle application of a force
additional to gravity

gentle at first
but insistent
that force

till you slow,
stop, and return
to whence you came

bearing news:
the Universe is not for you
some things are sacred.

Tim says: As I’ve recently posted the guidelines for an online magazine issue featuring New Zealand and Australian speculative poetry (a term covering science fiction, fantasy and horror poetry, among others) that I’m editing, I though I’d post one of my own science fiction poems – well, a science poem, anyway. This one is from my first poetry collection, Boat People.

At the time “That’s Far Enough” was written, the trajectories of the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft leaving the solar system and heading into interstellar space appeared to show that they were being acted on by a forced additional to gravity, which was gradually slowing them down. However, recent research may have accounted for the “Pioneer Anomaly”.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog – the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week’s other poems are linked from the right-hand column.

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