Better than hunger

The first of all the mornings
afterwards,
the first mate told us
how an unknown asteroid,
had crashed right through the zirkum hull
on the seventh deck of our faithful “Doris”,
He told us how just twenty seven starry
sailors had been sacrificed to space.

“We have sealed the seventh deck”, he said
“and we are lucky, we are safe”,

but I saw the way the science officer
grew moon-pale, sweat-slick,
and how he gazed towards the screen
still showing news
from riots in Metropolis.

“It’s just another year
until we reach the IO-13 colony.”
the first mate sighed,
“and we offer lunar beer and popcorn
in the cinema tonight”.

I guess we knew by then,
but we pretended to be better off,
than those whose blood was spilled
for hunger in Metropolis.

The two sailors by Fernand Leger

For open link night at dVerse

January 24, 2018

32 responses to “Better than hunger

  1. How does luna beer taste like? Nice sci-fi story that hits close to home. Better safe than sorry but still danger is all around us. How about a side trip to Mars?

  2. This puts me in the mind of ‘prevention is better than cure,’ love the tone and pacing of this scientific journey through earth and space! ❤️

  3. You’ve gone off at a different angle, Björn. Just as I was hoping for the librarian, you give me a space ship called Doris and her crew! The sibilance in the lines:
    ‘He told us how just twenty seven starry
    sailors had been sacrificed to space’
    is very effective in creating the sounds of space, as I imagine them. I also like the description of the science officer growing ‘moon-pale’. But the riots and hunger in Metropolis seem a little close to home – a prediction of the future perhaps.

    • We pretended to be better off than those rioting for hunger in… fill in the blank… Caracas, Syria, under the bridge down the street…
      Pass the popcorn… munch, sigh. Sometimes I hate myself. Bjorn hit a nerve here.

  4. There are some lovely phrases in this–” just twenty seven starry
    sailors had been sacrificed to space” and “moon-pale, sweat-slick.” I also think there’s a tragic back story here.

  5. I “like” what isn’t said. You’ve captured body language to tell the tale and the final rhetorical question: is it better to die a quick death or a slow one. Well done!

  6. That is our style, cannot escape our doom, so might as well eat popcorn. This haunts me, like Brendan’s “maelstrom” but all in subtext. Brilliant, terrifying.

  7. I love the starry sailors and then the hopelessness of their situation. Guess there is no escape, this is the only planet we can live on! Sci Fi I think, makes us think!

  8. A wonderful narrative poem, Bjorn, with the soft ironies and hard dichotomies: 27 dead, but popcorn and cinema for the survivors,; riots in Metropolis, but a voyage of hope to IO for the passangers and crew. Wonderful write! I already want another! 🙂

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