A Vision in Spring

                                David P. Stern

    I sat on the porch, watching the spring
    Blue skies, green grass, yellow sun
    Birds, tulips, weeds
    I watched the trees--pale green newborn leaves
    All well with the world
    When suddenly
    The screen of my mind, the eye's projector
    Bent, buckled
    Twisted out of shape
    Without losing sharp focus
    Stretched, tore and rent apart
    And in the opening only blackness
    The green was pulled off the edges
    And I was left
    In the dark.

    My God! I cried. What happened?
    Where am I?
    I cannot see a thing!
    And a voice answered: "Yes, you can. Feel it!"
    Sharp, clear-cut. The void has no echoes
    No reverberations, either.
    And I saw where I was. Far in space
    The dark pierced by pinholes of stars
    More and still more, all around.
    And I felt: not much here
    Mostly emptiness
    Density oh point two atoms per cee cee
    (must be on the fringes)
    Point six gamma, magnetic
    And some high energy particle flux
    With assorted photons. Mostly, three degrees absolute
    And pretty isotropic, as far as I could sense.

    What is this? I cried. What sort of place?
    "You know quite well," He said
    Out among the stars
    Watching the universe.
    "And why?" I cried. I cannot see anyone
    On the radio bands all is noise
    No A-Em, no Eff-Em, no pulse code modulation
    Nothing. No spaceships either
    No spacewarp or supraluminous drive
    And no little green men.

    "There are no little green men"
    He said
    There is no life in the universe except
    On that little blue planet of yours.
    In other universes, yes
    But that's outside your dimension
    And there is no spacewarp
    You people will never get to this region
    Too far.

    "So why bring me here?" I said
    Just to show you what you are up against
    Cold, vacuum, empty vastness
    Not that you need them. You have
    A pretty good place
    Six days it took me to fix it up. Wasn't easy
    You have to get all the interaction constants just right
    Before you put it all together
    Or else it won't go. Then you must set it off
    Just in the proper way.
    Only your ignorant biologists can think life will start alone
    By itself, as soon as all ingredients are mixed.
    Really, it was quite a job. Six days
    And I got so tired
    That I took the seventh off.

    But it is a nice world
    And it's developing very well, just as it was meant to
    Unless you people burn it up
    Or use it up, in some foolish way.
    Every process has its latent instabilities
    Only your clueless philosophers can claim
    That everything is preordained. It isn't
    (I have made sure of it).
    Anyway, try keep it going
    Remember that it's yours
    And there are no spares.

    Now, to put you back
    He said, and round the rim of vision
    Shades of pale green came rushing from infinity
    Joining together, closing the gap
    Like a moving picture run backwards
    When you put in the cartridge upside down
    (As you can do on newer models).
    The trees straightened
    Found which way was up
    Twitched a bit
    And were back as they always have been.
    And my wife was looking at me strangely
    "I was wondering what has happened to you"
    She said
    "You were sitting there just staring into space
    And for a moment it seemed
    As if you just weren't there."

              David P. Stern           23 May 1972


Author and Curator:   Dr. David P. Stern
     Mail to Dr.Stern:   david("at" symbol)phy6.org .

Last updated 4 August 2012