First contact

First contact
by David Chadwick

Pulse, pulse, pulse
They start, start, start
Intermittent at first
Tentative, tentative, tentative
Like fingers feeling their way
From a distant star, star, star
Then becoming more regular
Establishing a rhythm
Taking on form, form, form, form,
Finding the paths
Between the galaxies
Passing the planets
Pulsing patterns
Patterns suggesting meaning
Meaning signifying intelligent design
A sign, a sign, a sign
Of life!

I remember exactly where I was when the news broke.
Everyone does they say.
It was the shortest day,
And I was in the garden planting garlic.

My wife called from the house. “Come and listen to this!” she said.
It was on the midday bulletin.
It took a while to sink in,
But when it did, you felt all strange and wonderful inside.

How amazing it was to know that we are not alone.
But I remember saying at the time,
“So we’ve made contact. Well that’s all very fine,
But it’s what we say next that really matters.”

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