Jeff Gallagher: a poem

Stop Telling God What To Do You ask what the world would look like If you rode, like God, on a beam of light You search the Internet but only find A dozen different answers to your query You realise observation and a fair test Are the only means of finding a solution You embark therefore on a reckless pursuit Of a concept that can never apply You understand the Lorenz factor: that time dilation Goes to infinity at c (the speed of light) You accept that to know the future is not allowed: Only the extrapolation of our own uncertainty You realise the unknown dangers such a journey May present (hypothetically) to your human frame You remark that Columbus sailed around a flat globe And Galileo moved the sun with his keen eye You relish the perverse prospect of finding nothing, Only sensing, like the dying, when time stands still You straddle your homemade rocket and set off On your mission to see and do things differently You watch as we stand still and appear to observe The friend we knew entering a new dimension You travel to a place we cannot perceive In our polite acceptance of your curious plan You map an uncharted route with only star trails And a bewildering emptiness to guide your voyage You feel your horizons shrink to a single point While the time remaining to you stretches to eternity You look and see nothing, since at such a velocity Light from behind you cannot reach your retina You suffer, from our viewpoint, a brilliant Irreversible acceleration towards extinction You imagine that you exceed the speed of light, Pass through your mirror image, see time reversed You smile as we stand beside you in a separate vacuum And time and space can never be revisited You refuse to believe you have not reached knowledge, Only the displacement of your own majestic clockwork You emerge from the wreckage of your vessel, A haunted face glistening with ecstatic terror You return to the dark matter of your troubled mind – And yet with the hope derived from your own equations You remain (relatively) content with an imagination That is still free to be curious, to question, to wonder You nod, take up paper and pen, once again begin To outline the logic only arrived at through insanity

Jeff Gallagher is a poet and playwright living in Sussex. His blog is here. He has had a number of plays for young people published and regularly performed and has also written two YA novels.