To Beta, Cosmically Considered

by Richard O’Connell

If relic radiation bathes the spheres
Isotropically, as water is to fish,
To an observer here or in Andromeda,
Time has an arrow sharp as Cupid’s kiss.

If all is that primeval fireball
Exploding yet beyond the verge of sight,
We’re genesis and apocalypse ourselves –
Galactic cousins, catastrophic flesh.

Let us junk tyrannical cyclopean clocks
Geared to the worm-work of industrious forebears
Who added pittance by the pendulum –
Only to leave their wealth to wastrel heirs.

Let us accept that arrow in our hearts
Transfixing us, targets of joy and tears;
The stars may see how in our spendthrift love
We keep a better time by keeping theirs.

— This poem appears in the May 5, 2014 print issue of National Review.