Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Drake's Evasion"

This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls, inspired by my post about some science articles and a discussion with [personal profile] kengr. It also fills the "WILD CARD: Deliverance" square in my 1-1-20 card for the Less Usual Bingo Patterns fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

"Drake's Evasion"

A sample of one is not a statistic.

It turns out that Earth is not
typical of inhabited planets at all.

Most of them grow up around
much more temperate stars,
the brown and orange dwarfs.

They also tend to be eyeball planets.

Some of them are hot eyeballs,
one side baked to desert and
the other an ice cap, with
a habitable band between
along the edge of twilight.

Others are icy eyeballs,
one side an ice cap and
the other a living ocean.

There are all kinds of
variations, depending
on how much water
they have and how
land is distributed,
but all of them have
one thing in common.

They're really stable.

Earth is nothing of the sort;
it teems with life all over
its surface and riots
with variety every day.

Meanwhile the species
that rise to sapience around
the common cooler stars
have tussled back and forth
through the Milky Way ...

except for here.

The first few invaders
swept into the system
just to see if it held
anything interesting,
and found a biosphere
that's completely insane.

The sun is broiling hot,
the planet is spinning like
a berserk top, everything
is all messed together,
the weather is chaotic,
and the light blinks on
and off all the time

They all took one look
at the freakazoid planet
and went "Oh HELL no!"

So they just decided
to pretend it doesn't exist
while all of them went about
their galactic geopolitics without us.

And that's why the sky seems silent:

The aliens are not absent,
they're just avoiding us.

* * *


Drake's Equation is a formula to calculate life in the universe. It causes a lot of controversy because we don't know a lot of the variables.

This article suggests that Earth may not be the best type of planet to support life, and thus, could be an outlier instead of the norm. It's always more likely for a single example to come from the middle of the bell curve, but there's no guarantee and no way to check.

A brown dwarf is a small cool star or a huge hot planet, which may or may not have habitable planets orbiting it.

An orange dwarf or K-type star is a very common and temperate star. It may be much more conducive to habitable planets compared to yellow G-type stars like our sun.

Eyeball planets are tidally locked planets that can be hot or icy. See my discussion here. I love using science to inspire writing because it leads to such interesting and unusual places.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science, science fiction, space exploration, weblit, writing
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