SONG OF A GENERATION SHIP
by Alfred D. Byrd
Between the fire that shines on the earth
And the fire that lights the world to come,
Our journey procedes. The Ship, our home,
Encloses within its hull a world
That calls to mind the earth behind us,
Sustains and shields the lives within it,
And holds the substance of dreams and hope
With which we plan to remake the earth
Unstained by the past. The Ship, our home,
Revolves to give us the weight we need
To do the tasks to preserve the Ship
To carry our lives from fire to fire
Until we reach our fire of welcome.
Although we live and die imprisoned
Within a bubble without escape,
We feel no sorrow for what we lack,
But joy for triumphs that lie ahead,
Beyond our sight, within our vision.
We count our cycle of work and sleep
A seed most precious we plant and tend
For the day for lives not yet conceived
To touch the world of journey's ending.
From birth to death we make a journey
Of service, giving the Ship our lives,
A chain unbroken from star to star
To reach the new earth, a world unborn.
We tend the systems, we plant, we weed,
We teach our children their tasks in life,
We show them their goal, the star ahead,
And we give our flesh, when called by death,
To feed the plants and turn the cycle.
Although, imprisoned between the fires,
Not we shall reach the goal that we seek,
We know we shall share that goal afar:
Our hands will touch it through hands we bear,
The hands of children who share our dream.
On a day we know through math and hope,
The Ship will circle the star ahead,
And the lives preserved within the hull
Will emerge to seed the world unborn
With life from the world we left behind.
The dreams that will grow from seed they plant
No mind can foretell. Of peace, we pray,
The dreams will be made, of love and joy,
And beauty that seeks to plant and tend
Its vision elsewhere. In time, we dream,
The seed that sprouts on the world unborn
Will shoot from there its tendrils skywards,
Seeding the heavens with Ships like ours
To turn the wheel of seeking new fires
Return to the main party.