As this is one of my best poems, and monumental at that, I was thinking not to put all of it here, in case that might help it sell, but on second thought, the subject of the far-flung future is perhaps an odd topic, although as such, not much may have been written about it; however, I’m putting all of it here. Merry Christmas!
AFTER THE STARS HAVE GONE—
THE FINAL, SILENT DARK
The Last Chance Saloon (Casino)
Entropy is always the winner in the end,
When there’s no more money left to lend;
Meanwhile, we stabilize, in nature’s way,
Rearranging resources temporarily.
Going beyond our very old obsession so vast,
Of how it all began, back in the distant past,
Yet retaining our search for meaning, from that,
We now turn to how will it all end, this and that,
Whether becoming collapsed, expended, or flat.
Is there is some deep meaning in all that?
Yes, for it is there in that future distance,
We’ll find or not the end of our persistence,
Whether or not we are at all forever resistant,
Whether all that was and what was did and done
Will be of any long-lasting benefit to anyone—
Of what destiny awaits, if there ever was one.
Endings are important to us, as what we’re about,
Because we believe that how things turn out
Implies what the beginnings ultimately meant,
Of what or not is our place in the firmament.
As an ambitious species of nurture and nature
We now and have always pointed toward the future,
For of the three forms of the chimpanzee:
The common chimp, the bonobo, and us, we
Are the only chimp who went beyond the trees…
And more importantly, ever out of Africa freed,
By that exodus, which laid down, indeed,
From that experience, the urge and the need
To move on, exploring, ever planting another seed.
The horizons on Earth sufficed us through time
For many millennia but now the horizons’ climes
Have broadened through cosmology and physics,
And so they can well inform us of our prospects.
The future matters to us for very basic reasons:
We wish to offset our mortality, our pleasin’s,
To know if humanity’s works for every season
Will be remembered, or lost—all for nothing, even.
The Final, Silent Dark Marches On…
Time hurls a million waves of its displacement
At us, yet we are still here—the replacements.
Time ever gray with age hurls its changes then,
‘Gainst existence’s rock, time and time again,
The entropic seas denuding the sands,
Yet energy is preserved via science’s wands.
Reminiscence has weathered but could ne’er wither,
For in the mists of time yesteryear yet appeared.
Would the prospect of a “Big Crunch” bring on phobia,
Such as an ever more confining claustrophobia?
Seems a better thought, somehow, though no picnic,
But more pleasing if the universe were to be cyclic,
Although then all would still be really crushed,
And forever lost, gone headlong into the rush.
We expect cycles, for all the days and seasons
Embedded this in our ancestors, into our reasons,
Since at least the periodic supplies some rhythm,
A pattern—the rolling hills of lives onward driven.
As for the cyclic, endless repetitions, they too
Would seem to revolt more of us than just a few;
As too perhaps would some infinite abyss of time,
Which both grant us neither reason nor rhyme.
Does the drama go on forever, or does it end?
What do the visions of the future portend?
Doesn’t it all have some purpose meant—
A goodly end that all of it to us might it present?
Is our higher mammal time certainly
But of such a short parentheses within eternity?
It’s only a finite time then, which too tends
To horrify so many, as the universe ends,
Such as told by Robert Frost, a name of chill:
In heat or in cold, known as fire or ice, still.
Should we not believe in God since nothing lasts?
Well, if nothing lasts then of what our purpose past?
Is a purpose really required, so constructive,
Or would that really be quite restrictive?
No realm could really be special or sent,
Its becoming being of some specific intent,
For all has arrived as the causeless non-precedent.
Is there anything wrong with the freedom to be,
Anywhere, any how, or any time during eternity?
Should we rail against the law of entropy—
The “heat death” of thermodynamic energy,
The second of its final laws, you see,
Because it would destroy all of history?
There are so many ways for disorder to be
Than any one ordered state specifically.
Would even a heaven on Earth become a misery
If as it might, contain no more novelty?
Must there be an end to our revelry?
Can’t we at least hibernate eternally?
Won’t all matter too last eternally?
Will Shakespeare’s works live on, paternally?
Is this not a Wagnerian struggle for eternity?
Science Can Settle Whether a Last Day
Is Ever Going to Come this Way
Only a decade or so ago, with consternation,
We discovered the universe’s acceleration,
Its expansion even increasing, onto a thin disaster,
The galaxies getting further away ever and ever faster—
Then one last snapshot taken, for all to remember.
The accelerating expansion of the universe’s rafters
Means that the universe will cool even ever faster,
So any rare forms of the future’s life prolongers
Will have to keep themselves ever more cooler,
Think more slowly, and hibernate ever longer.
One day the protons will even fade away,
Leaving but dark matter, electrons, and positrons.
The Waves of the Ancient Swells
Of Time’s Forgetting Swells
Swept Ever On…
As Time, now hoary with age,
Hurled forth its ashen change,
The charge ever san, pale and colorless,
That force born to summon decay, so endless,
‘Gainst Nature’s Universe, each and every day.
Time and time again Time fed all upon,
In its bloodless, white, and waxen way,
But this everlasting rose would not fade,
Its luster even brightening by the day,
Ever unsuccumbing to the sickly, peakèd
State draining drawn the life away.
Entropic seas yet denude the mountains,
Yet this enduring flower never-endingly
Has cast Deathly Time aside, fas now,
Ceaselessly somehow thriving on
To that which is the near imperishable,
The flame of beauty still inextinguishable,
Forever celebrated as immutable,
Gaining a seemingly perpetual permanence
From the undying love of the glorious truth.
Yet everything was moving apart, cooling off,
The big slowdown not really so very far off;
Ultimately, even the black holes of late
And the lightless planets will dissipate.
The primordial soup once so rich and hearty
Was now a thin gruel that couldn’t serve the party.
One day every particle will be moving away
From every other particle, so much out of the way
That they won’t even be able to see one another;
Thus for all intents motion will have ceased forever.
Our spurt of life followed by an infinite stretch
Of dark equilibrium was but the briefest sketch—
A warm and fuzzy stage, so interestingly active,
Whose time relatively was but infinitesimive.
Yet we were there in all our glory,
For whenever else could we have been?
In the future, uncounted societies of
Overlapping minds accumulate, with love,
In island redoubts, their preserved data burning
With a vital remembrance, in which, returning,
The past is the present and future, they all reliving
The data, even animating it, and ever altering.
Without any new enrichments the present and future
Reprise the past in this retreat from external nature.
Their candles would have been nearly invisible to us—
They enduring by diminishing so as not to exhaust.
They made few new memories, a kind of blind sight,
For whatever realities had ever existed out of sight
Of their own mental structures were now fractured,
And thus not so different from those manufactured.
The Penultimate Part of the Final Dark
An Escalating One-Way Trip
From a Fluke to Oblivion
The majority of the energy
Of the universe is dark today,
Although everything else passes
Through it in every way.
Having a component
That repels its own state,
Which cause the expansion of
The universe to much accelerate.
Dark Energy Matters: The Escalation
We’re on a one way trip from a quantum fluke,
That maximal energy within old Planck’s nook,
Heading toward the oblivion of sparse expansion—
All that we ever loved and knew going to extinction.
They sent message of early warnings to some,
In those castles of illusion, yes, many a one—
That they would face the decay not so far away
Of the heavy particles—the “proton pause”, one day.
No self-assembled granularity can endure
Forever but must return to the substructure,
And so the lives must all transition, it seems,
From heavier to much lighter regimes…
Although this too would not be permanent—
All destined to be swallowed by the firmament.
We have often asked why some space exists,
Why it permits the countless to briefly persist
On Mother Earth, nourished under Father Sky—
All of those finite sparks that light and die.
There were those who endlessly debated
Whether to live in their virtuals unabated
Or to press forwards and outwards, of delirium,
To seek out new localities in the mysterium,
But the pauses of the heavy particles continued,
And so there was nowhere to go for the retinued.
It was much simpler once in those days of old
When we thought that universes didn’t go cold,
But that they expanded and then collapsed,
Still destroying all, yet ever giving more to last.
And well before that, once upon a storied time,
We simply made it all up, with tales and rhyme,
In place of any physical observations
Such as through revealing experimentations.
The past was now a reef of dead accumulation,
A graveyard of various useless information,
Which despite its splendorous beauty
Could not provide for a novel futurity.
The last one of us, born of the sparkness,
Kept a window to the outer darkness…
She looked out from a once brightly
Colored and sparkling inner reality
Into the dark abyss…
There was nothing out there,
All being so lonely and bare—
No more singing of life’s song,
For now everything was gone.
The Final Epilog
There could not have been any specific time,
One that was privileged over any other chime,
Nor any special place, nor any certain form
Arising out of the necessarily causeless realm.
Even the locally specific dates and places past
Of the events’ novel memoirs couldn’t last,
They being writ on water, with no meaning vast,
Disappearing in significance so very fast,
Since it’s only the universals that last.
The protons were now gone from the show,
Having decayed so very long ago
Into positrons—ever canceling the electrons,
And emitting the fleeing light of photons,
There being of course an equal amount
Of protons and electrons in the count.
And of course along with all the protons
Went all of the atomic elements—the end,
All of their forms becoming myth and legend,
As they were still dreamt in night dreams,
Those forms that we once had, so it seemed.
She, as many of a luckily adaptable kind,
Had long since lightened and lighted her mind,
With the dwindling electrons and precious photons—
That beginning light of ancient times growing wan.
Ours had been the only line in the universe,
One that had become sentient, with proto-man first,
The rest of the cosmos being but a colossal waste,
A foreboding, harsh, and very dangerous place.
She was now the only one left,
Having outlived all of the rest.
The universe was near crumbling away,
Having run out of space, time, and all its sway.
She was dispersing, melting, into the vacuum, lone,
But she held on for another thousand years, alone,
And then she too was gone,
Being the last of the hominid’s song,
Of all that was sapient: the Magnificat,
The composition of Earth’s sweet plot,
The greatest symphony that was ever sown,
It now having faded into the unknown.
From near nothingness our forms became,
And into the same must go the remains.
If the unknown be such, though it’s otherwise;
But if it’s yet called ‘unknown’ then the reply
Is still for sure that we’re free to be, anywise.
If you’ve shed a tear reading here
For both the far and the near and dear
It won’t make their graves green again,
But it’s possible that life could begin again…
Be of Good Cheer-—the sullen Month will die,
And a young Moon requite us by and by:
Look how the Old one meagre, bent, and wan
With Age and Fast, is fainting from the Sky!
(A Khayyam quatrain that’s not in FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat)
Our fruits are of a universal seed
As the yield of All possibility treed,
And siblings elsewhere in the entropic sea
Will also be born of such probability.
The Eternal Return
Behind the Veil, being that which ev’r thrives,
The Eternal IS has ever been alive,
For that which hath no onset cannot die,
Nor a point from which to impart its Why.
Some time it needed to learn Everything for,
And now well knows how these bubbles to pour,
Of existence, in some like universe,
As those that wrote your poem and mine, every verse.
So as thus thou lives on yester’s credit line
In nowhere’s midst, now in this life of thine,
As of its bowl our cup of brew was mixed
Into this state of being that’s called “mine”.
Yet worry you that this Cosmos is the last,
That the likes of us will become the past,
Space wondering whither whence we went
After the last of us her life has spent?
The Eternal Saki has thus formed
Trillions of baubles like ours, and will form,
Forevermore—the comings and passings
Of which it ever emits to immerse
Of those universal bubbles blown and burst.
So fear not that a debit close your
Account and mine, knowing the like no more;
The Eternal Cycle from its pot has pour’d
Zillions of bubbles like ours, and will pour.
When You and I behind the cloak are past
But the long while the next universe shall last,
Which of one’s approach and departure the All grasps
As might the sea’s self heed a pebble-cast.
Nature springs from winter’s tomb,
The bloom already in the seed,
The trees within the acorns.
Surging sprigs sprout from the soil;
Spring showers make the summer flower.
Summer wakes from spring’s dying kiss,
Blooming when the rose does,
Sunning after the spring’s running.
Summer reigns upon the land,
Eventually fading in the night.
Autumn falls as summer leaves,
Harvesting its sum of days,
Seconding the rose of spring.
The smile meets the tear—
Fall’s embers last through December.
Ice winds stalk the weed flowers,
The ghosts frosting the dead stalks,
Snow crystals barring all that grows.
Winter is life cooled over;
Melting snows feed spring waters.