A Visitor Will Find – a poem by Kate Rauner

Neolithic "goddess" carving

Neolithic “goddess” carving

Welcome Comet Lovejoy
To our northern sky.
Constellations frame your path,
Through Rabbit, Maiden, Bull you fly.
When last you journeyed near the Sun
We humans on the ground
Were mostly still nomadic,
Had no cities, had no towns.
While you were gone we learned to farm,
To write and tally busheled grain,
Domesticated dog and horse,
Built wagons, cars, and planes.
We learned to war and yearned for peace,
Found gentle commerce better
Than conquest of our neighbors,
As trade became our treasure.
Yet still we murder for our gods,
And still we crave for power,
And still we turn our backs upon
The least of sisters and of brothers.
When you return eons hence
I hope you’ll find, in human eyes,
A wiser race is gazing up
Faithful beyond kin and tribe.

This poem quickly veers from space to social science – Steven Pinker’s encouraging book Better Angels of Our Natures – Why Violence has Declined. There’s reason to hope Lovejoy will pass a better Earth next orbit.


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