The Great Silence (Sonnet for SETI)

By Geoffrey A. Landis

SETISETI Institute

The sounds of silence singing in our ears:
we hear just static hiss from stars and dust,
the maser noise from stellar atmospheres.

What if we are alone, and no one’s there?
And life a fluke? A planetary crust,
chemicals complex as snowflakes, but still just
odd oxidation: we’re a form of rust.

In a universe of strange, unlikely things –
pulsating stars, rainbows, planets with rings –
how could we be unlikeliest of all?
If life comes up by chance, however small
then elsewhere must be others. Do they call?
There must be others out there. So we trust.

– Our radios hear just noise from stars and dust.

About Geoffrey A. Landis
Geoffrey A. Landis is a writer and a scientist. He won the Theodore Sturgeon Award in 2011 for his novella “The Sultan of the Clouds.”
2 Comments
  1. Kenny A. Chaffin
    Kenny A. Chaffin07-03-2012

    I love this poem. It was the first one (first idea – SETI) that popped into my mind when I learned of the theme for this premier issue of Ad Astra. I’m kinda glad I didn’t write it though as yours is just perfect!

    • Geoffrey A. Landis
      Geoffrey A. Landis07-05-2012

      Thanks!
      I wrote a handful of poems for the 50th anniversary of Frank Drake’s “Project Ozma” a year ago. Glad you like it!
      -Geoff

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