by Bruce Boston

 Except for changes in punctuation and capitalization, this poem is
     composed entirely from the titles of science fiction books and periodicals.

     Against the fall of night,
     across the wounded galaxies,
     envoy to new worlds,
     behold the man --he, she, and it!--
     born into light, dying of the light,
     becoming alien between worlds,
     a new species more than human
     always coming home
     alone against tomorrow.

     Time and again, those who can,
     change the sky and all between.
     We cast down the stars,
     four hundred billion stars
     on wings of song.
     Brightness falls from the air,
     downward to the Earth,
     down the bright way
     burning with a vision.
     Earth abides, a swiftly tilting
     planet in the ocean of night.

     Explorers of the infinite,
     exiled from Earth,
     dancing at the edge of the world,
     we call back yesterday
     in memory yet green.
     We return to Earth
     but we are not of the Earth.
     The future took us out there
     across the sea of suns
     in search of forever,
     beyond the blue event horizon
     where time winds blow.

     Lest darkness fall
     you shall know them.
     Strange relations. Strange
     ports of call. Strange horizons
     from utopia to nightmare.
     Star-line velocities ten thousand
     light years from home.
     Men like gods.  Women of wonder
     holding your eight hands.
     The shape of things to come.

     The stars are ours--take back plenty!
     Dream the creation of tomorrow!
     Dream the last dangerous visions!

Titles Used in "The Poetry of Science Fiction"

Across the Sea of Suns, Gregory Benford, 1984. Across the Wounded
, Larry McCaffery et al., 1990. Against the Fall of Night, Arthur C.
Clarke, 1949.
Alone against Tomorrow, Harlan Ellison, 1971. Always
Coming Home
, Ursula K. Le Guin, 1985. And All Between, Zilpha Keatley
Snyder, 1975.
Becoming Alien, Rebecca Ore, 1987. Behold the Man, Michael
Moorcock, 1969.
Between Worlds, Garret Smith, 1929. Beyond the Blue
Event Horizon
, Frederik Pohl, 1977. Born into Light, Paul Samuel Jacobs,
Brightness Falls from the Air, James Tiptree, Jr., 1985. Burning with a
, Robert Frazier (ed.), 1984. But We Are Not of the Earth, Jean E.
Karl, 1981.
Call Back Yesterday, James D. Forman, 1981. Cast Down the
, McClure Jones, 1978. Change the Sky, Margaret St. Claire, 1974. The
Creation of Tomorrow
, Paul A. Carter, 1977. Dancing at the Edge of the
, Ursula K. Le Guin, 1989. Down the Bright Way, Robert Reed, 1991.
Downward to the Earth, Robert Silverberg, 1970. Dream, S. Fowler Wright,
Dying of the Light, George R. R. Martin, 1977. Earth Abides, George
R. Stewart, 1949.
Envoy to New Worlds, Keith Laumer, 1963. Exiled from
, Ben Bova, 1971. Explorers of the Infinite, Sam Moskowitz, 1953. Four
Hundred Billion Stars
, Paul J. McAuley, 1988. From Utopia to Nightmare,
Chad Walsh, 1982.
The Future Took Us Out There, David Severn, 1957. He,
She, and It
, Marge Piercy, 1991. Holding Your Eight Hands (sf poetry
anthology), Edward Lucie-Smith (ed.), 1969.
In Memory Yet Green, Isaac
Asimov, 1979.
In the Ocean of Night, Gregory Benford, 1979. In Search of
, Rodney Matthews, 1985. The Last Dangerous Visions, Harlan
Ellison (ed.), unpublished.
Lest Darkness Fall, L. Sprague de Camp, 1941.
Men Like Gods, H. G. Wells, 1923. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon,
A New Species, Robin Roberts, 1993. On Wings of Song, Thomas M.
Disch, 1979.
Return to Earth, H. M. Hoover, 1980. The Shape of Things to
, H. G. Wells, 1933. Star*Line (Newsletter of the Science Fiction
Poetry Association), various editors, 1978--2011.
The Stars Are Ours,
Andre Norton, 1954.
Strange Horizons, Sam Moskowitz, 1976. Strange
Ports of Call
, August Derleth (ed.), 1948. Strange Relations, Philip Jose
Farmer, 1960.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Madeleine L'Engle, 1978. Take Back
Colin Greenland, 1990. Ten Thousand Light Years from Home,
James Tiptree, Jr., 1973.
Those Who Can, Robin Scott Wilson (ed.), 1973.
Time and Again, Jack Finney, 1970. Velocities (sf poetry magazine),
Andrew Joron (ed.), 1982-1988.
We, Evgenii Zamiatin, 1924. Where Time
Winds Blow
, Robert Holdstock, 1981. Women of Wonder, Pamela Sargent
(ed.), 1974.
You Shall Know Them, Vercors (pseud.of Jean Brulles), 1953.

First appeared in
Science Fiction Age, March, 1999

Bruce Boston Home Page