Dogs converse in the dimming light.
A blackbird embroiders the dusk
with song, to the background thrum
of sluggardly traffic homeward bound.
A bee on its last shift of the day
flits amongst the flowers as petals fold.
A star takes shape in the horizons haze.
A pulse of light that has travelled
through space for three millennia.
In the twilight I watch and wonder.
When the starlight began its voyage
did Pharaohs walk in the shadows
of the columns of Luxor, while slaves
laboured to build their tombs.
Three thousand years from now
will there be a twilight watcher?
Wondering what triumphs and tragedies
unfolded here on this small planet
when the starlight began its voyage.
‘Are you in there, Gregor?’
Thomas peered through the viewing window into the swirling gaseous mass that filled the laboratory interior. The chromatic cloud was peppered with pulsating, sparkling spots of light. Quite beautiful he thought.
‘Gregor!’ He shouted impatiently into the microphone.
‘I’m coming, Thomas, I’m coming!’
The ghostly figure of Gregor emerged from the foggy cloud and entered the viewing pod accompanied by a faint metallic smell.
‘You’ll set fire to the building one of these days with your experiments!’
‘It’s really quite safe’. Said Gregor, brushing away glowing beads that clung like embers to his suit. ‘How can I help you?’
‘Bad news I’m afraid. The Grand Council have decided to terminate your experiment.’
‘Why? It’s producing significant data.’
‘Yes, I have read your preliminary report. A number of the species you are studying are quite remarkable. Their constant development of social structures is fascinating. But the time overrun of the project is unacceptable…….you need to be doing something more relevant.’
‘I realise that it has taken longer than expected, Thomas, but observing such micro species has been difficult. A few more days would yield far more information; a day of our time represents many epochs of theirs. We could learn so much more.’
‘I am very sorry, Gregor, the grand council have made their decision. The technicians will clear the lab tomorrow; get rid of this toxic cloud.’
‘To terminate seems cruel; It’s been enjoyable watching them. In all sectors the various beings have evolved physically in different ways, but all are equally resourceful. In one particular group I have detected signs that they are attempting to reach and colonise the adjacent sphere, the one they call Mars. I regret that I won’t see if they manage it.’
‘Gregor. Have you ever thought…?
‘Thought what, Thomas?’
‘That we might just be part of some experiment too…..!’