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Comet by Day

The pathway was clear, but I couldn’t hear.
Now, as I sing my threnody,
I’ve never felt death this close to me
before . . .
I thought I would see your comet by day,
but now that it seems you’re drifting away,
I never thought you’d be so remote –
at least, I’d never have believed it.

“Earth raised up her head
From the darkness dread and drear.
Her light fled,
Stony dread!
And her locks cover’d with grey despair.”

But don’t suppose the sun never shines
on this island planet of mine,
on until the end of time;
and for all the good it will do
I will send this message to you;
may it be the last in line:
that however far we may roam
through this intergalactic home
you will never find your soul;

when you reach the infinite wall
where there is no starlight at all,
there will be your goal – but . . . .

where will it be, who will you see?
Will it be you, will it be me?
What will it mean even if we live
forever . . . .

“Prison’d on watery shores
Starry jealousy does keep my den;
Cold and hoar,
Weeping o’er,
I hear the father of the Ancient Men.”

But look at all the stars in the sky!
Notice how they ‘live and let die’
on until the end of time!
And when next the starmen arrive
to inspect the few that survive,
don’t forget to wave goodbye.
Don’t you see the paths that we tread
must be for your heart not your head
since they surely lead nowhere.
And if it’s a million to one,
then it’s so much better than none;
so do not despair – but . . . .

where will it be, who will you see?
Will it be you, will it be me?
What will it mean even if we live
forever . . . .

The pathway was there
but I never cared.
Now as I sing my threnody
I’ve never felt you so close to me
before . . . .

Now I have seen your comet by day,
and now I can see you’re not drifting away;
I know now you’re not really so remote
anymore . . . .
So where did I go wrong?

©1974 Joe Jacobs / Richard Joseph
Extracts from Earth's Answer by William Blake