Sellers of the Occlusion of Sky (Introduction)

If the presence of Life had been detected
      on a distant world
            and Mankind honed and expanded
                  the science and art of telescopy
                        to sufficiently fabulous degree,
                              our telescopes would show
                                    not a luminous, cloud-dappled
                                          sphere
But ground-level views of streets
      and micro-eddies in rills
            and the quivering in wind of leaf
                  and the dividings and multiplyings of bacteria, all comprising
                        the spinnings and shufflings of their molecules, atoms, and energies
                              and the components of their subcomponent parts—
                                    denizens, however superficially alien, at ease,
                                          in commerce, coitus, repose, and strife
                                                fitted to and questioning, or failing to question,
                                                      their ways
                                                            in their own ways no different
                                                                  from us
                                                                        in their Universe no different
                                                                              from ours,
The resolutions of the greatest, most powerful telescope no different
      from images produced by the greatest, most powerful
            microscope
For both contrivances merely image Surface
      and differ only
            in aperture, field of vision, and magnification
                  and the details of their normalization to zero
                        of the distance between That Seen
                              and the curved focal plane of Observer
                                    retina.

Telescopy on one world is identical
      to microscopy on another;
Sight achieved through the mechanism
      of unaided vision, but the special case
            that bounds their difference.
All Seeing is the bridging
      of Distance;
Everything Seen,
      from any distance,
Is Sky.


Copyright © 2006 by David Newkirk. All rights reserved.
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