Saturday, January 07, 2012

Interstellar Travel

We are dying, we are dying, so all we can do
is now to be willing to die, and to build the ship
of death to carry the soul on the longest journey.

A little ship, with oars and food
and little dishes, and all accoutrements
fitting and ready for the departing soul.

Now launch the small ship, now as the body dies
and life departs, launch out, the fragile soul
in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith
with its store of food and little cooking pans
and change of clothes,
upon the flood's black waste
upon the waters of the end
upon the sea of death, where still we sail
darkly, for we cannot steer, and have no port.

Discovering this fragment of D.H. Lawrence's poem 'The Ship of Death' in Grayson Perry's The Tomb Of The Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum reminded me of the importance of the metaphorical power of science fiction. Something so often forgotten, these days, when too often it's mistaken for a literal report on the future.


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