Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "To Regard Old Problems"

This poem is from the March 1, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] janetmiles and LJ user Ng_moonmoth. It also fills the "leader" square in my 2-29-16 card for the Villain Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series An Army of One.


"To Regard Old Problems"


Hootowl has been listening
to the developments in the Lacuna.

He has been doing the math
and consulting with Router on
the matter of supplies.

He has spoken with
Sam the Gardener about
their food production.

He is all too aware of
their precarious position,
caught between the two Arms
of the galaxy and their politics,
at the end of supply lines that
neither side wishes to support
with any more shipments.

The people of the Lacuna will have
to find ways of supporting themselves.

So Hootowl catches a lift
with Astin and goes to visit
Supply Base Bounty 3D3N
and survey the gardens there.

He goes to Sargasso Base and
explores the little colony developing
where nobody would have granted
permission, full of people nobody
would have approved as colonists

if the Arms still had any influence here.

Hootowl gathers up a small team --
Operetta is interested in building up
a more comprehensive medical facility,
and Weavercreep is getting into textiles,
and Astin is always concerned with trade --
to investigate the Sargasso.

It is, after all, one of their largest resources,
this jumble of derelict ships and other junk.

"You need more ships," Astin observes,
"so you can ferry people and cargo without
remaining wholly dependent upon outsiders.
Some of these will serve, but most are ..."

"Raw materials," Hootowl says hopefully.

Operetta glares at him. "You expect me
to assemble a working hospital out of
derelict sickbays like this?" she says.

"Maybe we could buy some replacements,"
Hootowl suggests, thinking of budgets.

"It would take considerable capital,"
Astin points out with a frown.

Time is ticking, ticking, always
slipping away from them with
the slow slide of entropy.

It makes Hootowl uneasy.

"There's only one solution,"
Weavercreep declares. "We're going
to have to science the shit out of this."

So they bundle up what they believe can be
repaired effectively, and take it back to the base.

Hootowl stares at the heap of space junk and
firmly reminds himself that the soul of science
lies in the ability to regard old problems with
new questions and new possibilities.

* * *

Notes:

"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science."
-- Albert Einstein

The Sargasso Sea on Earth is full of clingy seaweed that can entangle ships. In space it's often a nickname for a derelict graveyard of starships or other space junk.

"I'm going to have to science the shit out of this!" is the most famous quote from the The Martian. It's basically a long reel of using science to survive.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, space exploration, weblit, writing
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