Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Night Watch by Karen Stay Ahlstrom

Night Watch

I see the starscape before me
A million pinpoints of light
I know my new home is there somewhere
Past thousands of miles of night

I hear the engines whisper
Their constant murmuring hum
And the quiet breath of my crewmates
As they wait for dreams to come

They say that the night watch is lonely
But it never was so to me
I sit and guard the darkness
And the darkness sets me free

One day we’ll find our new world
And there our new lives will start
Till then I will sit and listen
To the beat of my waiting heart
--Karen Stay Ahlstrom

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my poetry blog! I didn't get around to posting yesterday because I had a VERY busy day, but I thought that to honor the day, I'd post one of my own poems.

I wrote this one after reading Heinlein's anthology The Past Through Tomorrow. I was intending to write a story called "The Jupiter-Pluto Run" with this poem in it. The idea is that though science has come up with a good method of cryogenic sleep, somebody on the ship has to be awake to make minor course corrections and tend to the sleepers. Because of life support cost issues, there can only be one person awake and breathing so it's a very long, very lonely trip, surrounded by crewmates, yet alone for months on end. Most people can't take the isolation, but the pay is good, so our hero has signed up for one more trip so that he can come home and marry the girl he loves.


  1. I liked the poem, Karen! I thought it was Heinlein, actually, until I got to the end and saw your name there. :) So good job capturing the feel.