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Poetry for Science Fiction Fans

When you think about poetry, you might be used to exploring themes of romantic, deep, complex emotions, mythology, self-love, identity and the like. But sometimes these explorations of the self or the world can be expressed through an otherworldliness lense: Science Fiction. 

As Wallace Stevens said, “All poetry is experimental poetry.”  Aliens, astronauts, the vastness of space, monsters, and clones can all have their place in poetry and still keep us connected to the human condition—poems that blur the line between speculation and reality.  The experience of reading poetry can even feel risky, like entering another world, even if just for a few moments. 

If you value diversity, weirdness, contradiction and outer space in your reading, check out these out-of-this-world poems for science fiction fans. 

 

Aniara by Harry Martinson

 

We’re slowly coming to suspect that the space

we’re traveling in is of a different sort

from what we thought whenever that word “space”

was decked out by our fantasies on Earth.

We’re coming to suspect now that our drift

is even deeper then we first believed,

that knowledge is a blue naiveté

which with a measured quantity of insight

imagined that the Mystery has structure.

We now suspect that what we claim is space

and glassy clarity around Aniara’s hull

is spirit, everlasting and impalpable,

that we have strayed in spiritual seas.

 

Crashdown by Emma Osbourne 

Call to me, plugged and

Quivering as I am.

 

I’m yours, your

Scatterling. I’m a full–thrust and heaving

Creak of outer–skin.

It’s my fuselage that drums; a bent twist and yank at the entry.

You steer — you always have and I’m

Peppered with dirt from the

Last world, the

Lost world — we’ve just left it and already it doesn’t exist.

 

I’ve dropped from the black float

Here is the fall,

Terminal and swift. It shakes my bolts, tapping threads to unwinding

Though everything is bending deep, like a blind trip into

A forever of

Nothing more until we hit dirt and I

Cling, shuddering

To the loam.

 

Poem-Rocket by Allen Ginsberg

 

I am another Star.

Will you eat my poems or read them

or gaze with aluminum blind plates on sunless pages?

do you dream or translate & accept data with indifferent droopings

of antennae?

do I make sense to your flowery green receptor eyesockets? do you

have visions of God?

Which way will the sunflowers turn surrounded by millions of suns?

This is my rocket my personal rocket I send up my message Beyond

Someone to hear me there

My immortality

without steel or cobalt basalt or diamond gold or mercurial fire

without passports filing cabinets bits of paper warheads

without myself finally

pure thought 


lo. by Ceto Hesperia 

 

I circle her, forever her attendant,

but somehow I know she circles me

 

I am so small in her presence,

a thousand times greater than I,

a thousand thousand, unknowable and vast,

and all are drawn to her.

 

She is second only to the Sun but to me she is everything.

So many circle her, but she lets me be the closest,

She sings her sweet magnetic song as we dance.

She laughs and sings to me, calling me her sweet little one,

her tempestuous fireball, her favourite possession.

 

There is something electrical between us,

a loop of hot plasma wraps around me, binding me to her



She has never touched me,

not directly

our love is motion and distance and dancing.

As she moves, as I move, something moves inside me;

a great churning of heat and rock and metal, pulled tight by her voice.

It grows as we move together

a desperate tectonic pressure just beneath my skin

barely contained, straining towards her.
She sings, and we dance

she watches me, and I twist in my lust

she sings and we dance

heat and rock and metal

our love is fire and brimstone

sulphur and iron

and she sings

and we dance

and it spills out of me

my breath electric

a violent eruption from my lungs

a fervent volcanic release of pressure.

 

For a moment I am sated

and I feel the very air is stained by my lust,

a ring around her marking where I have been,

where she has taken me.

 

But I have marked her too, in my way;

there is a hot auroral glow upon her cheeks

as she watches me dance beneath her

and I know she feels my heat.

 

I circle her, forever her attendant,

but somehow I know she circles me

 

Perihelion by Toby Macnutt 

 

For this comet’s path I chose it, carved it

to be our temporary castle. In the act of opening

I let its secrets leak out into the starlight,

exposing this pocked and hissing water-ice

as blue as your seven elder sisters.

I shaped it to us till it shone. It is not terraformed

(this is no earth) but transfigured: a chiselled, burnished fluid.

You descend, shimmering darkly.

The scent of you, of alien metals, diffuses

into my atmosphere of breath and frozen dust.

And of desire: you, nebula-born, you empyrean beauty,

I would see you nova-bright and radiant,

pulsing, brilliant with every cosmic hue.

Yet I have tumbled through so many skies,

and found none to be your match. I have no stars to give.

I hold out my empty hands. As solar wind strokes the ice-wall

into light, into life, my reaching fingers glitter with their gift:

We are the void. (I touch your cheek.)

We hold the stars already,

and we burn, we burn.

 

Space Oddity by David Bowie

 

This is ground control to major Tom, you’ve really made the grade

And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear

Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

This is major Tom to ground control, I’m stepping through the door 

And I’m floating in a most peculiar way

And the stars look very different today

Here am I sitting in a tin can far above the world

Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do 

 

The Quiet World by Jeffrey McDaniel

 

In an effort to get people to look

into each other’s eyes more,

and also to appease the mutes,

the government has decided

to allot each person exactly one hundred

and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear

without saying hello. In the restaurant

I point at chicken noodle soup.

I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long-distance lover,

proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.

I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,

I know she’s used up all her words,

so I slowly whisper I love you

thirty-two and a third times.

After that, we just sit on the line

and listen to each other breathe.