The VoyagerWe are all lonely voyagers sailing on life's ebb tide,To a far off place were all stripling warriors have died,Sometime at eve when the tide is low,The voices call us back to the rippling water's flow,Even though our boat sailed with love in our hearts,Neither our dreams or plans would keep heaven far apart,We drift through the hush of God's twilight pale,With no response to our friendly hail,We raise our sails and search for majestic light,While finding company on this journey to the brighten our night,Then suddenly he pulls us through the reef's cutting sea,Back to the place that he asked us to be,Friendly barges that were anchored so sweetly near,In silent sorrow they drop their salted tears,Shall our soul be a feast of kelp and brine,The wasted tales of wishful time,Are we a fish on a line lured with bait,Is life the grind, a heartless fate,Suddenly, HUSH, said the wind from afar,Have you not looked to the heavens and seen the new star,It danced on the abyss of the evening sky,The sparkle of heaven shining on high,Its whisper echoed on the ocean's spray,From the bow to the mast they heard him say,Hope is above, not found in the deep,I am alive in your memories and dreams when you sleep,I will greet you at sunset and with the moon's evening smile,I will light your path home.. every last lonely mile,My friends, have no fear, my work was done well,In this life I broke the waves and rode the swell,I found faith in those that I called my crew,My love will be the compass that will see you through,So don't look for me on the ocean's floor to find,I've never left the weathered docks of your loving mind,For I am in the moon, the wind and the whale's evening song,I am the sailor of eternity whose voyage is not gone.
Shannon L. Alder
As the leader of the international Human Genome Project, which had labored mightily over more than a decade to reveal this DNA sequence, I stood beside President Bill Clinton in the East Room of the White House... Clinton's speech began by comparing this human sequence map to the map that Meriwether Lewis had unfolded in front of President Thomas Jefferson in that very room nearly two hundred years earlier. Clinton said, Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by humankind. But the part of his speech that most attracted public attention jumped from the scientific perspective to the spiritual. Today, he said, we are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty and the wonder of God's most divine and sacred gift.Was I, a rigorously trained scientist, taken aback at such a blatantly religious reference by the leader of the free world at a moment such as this? Was I tempted to scowl or look at the floor in embarrassment? No, not at all. In fact I had worked closely with the president's speechwriter in the frantic days just prior to this announcement and had strongly endorsed the inclusion of this paragraph.When it came time for me to add a few words of my own, I echoed this sentiment: It's a happy day for the world. It is humbling for me and awe-inspiring, to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.What was going on here? Why would a president and a scientist, charged with announcing a milestone in biology and medicine, feel compelled to invoke a connection with God? Aren't the scientific and spiritual worldviews antithetical, or shouldn't they at least avoid appearing in the East Room together? What were the reasons for invoking God in these two speeches? Was this poetry? Hypocrisy? A cynical attempt to curry favor from believers, or to disarm those who might criticize this study of the human genome as reducing humankind to machinery? No. Not for me. Quite the contrary, for me the experience of sequencing the human genome and uncovering this most remarkable of all texts, was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship.
Francis S. Collins
He was just a small church parson when the war broke out and heLooked and dressed and acted like all parsons that we see.He wore the cleric's broadcloth and he hooked his vest behind.But he had a man's religion and he had a stong man's mind.And he heard the call to duty and he quit his church and went.And he bravely tramped right with 'em every- where the boys were sent.He put aside his broadcloth and he put the khaki on;Said he'd come to be a soldier and was going to live like one.Then he'd refereed the prize fights that the boys pulled off at night,And if no one else was handy he'd put on the gloves and fight.He wasn't there a fortnight ere he saw the sol- diers' needs,And he said: I am done with preaching; this is now the time for deeds.He learned the sound of shrapnel, he could tell the size of shellFrom the shriek it make above him and he knew just where it fell.In the front line trench he laboured and he knew the feel of mud,And he didn't run from danger and he wasn't scared of blood.He wrote letters for the wounded and he cheered them with his jokes,And he never made a visit without passing round the smokes.Then one day a bullet got him, as he knelt be- side a ladWho was going west right speedy and they both seemed mighty glad,'Cause he held the boy's hand tighter and he smiled and whispered low,Now you needn't fear the journey; over there with you I'll go.And they both passed out together, arm in arm I think they went.He had kept his vow to follow everywhere the boys were sent.
Edgar A. Guest
Compassion for human hurt, a humble sense of our impermanence, an absolute valuation of justice—all of our so-called virtues only trouble us and serve to bolster, not assuage, horror. In addition, these qualities are our least vital, the least in line with life. More often than not, they stand in the way of one’s rise in the welter of this world, which found its pace long ago and has not deviated from it since. The putative affirmations of life—each of them based on the propaganda of Tomorrow: reproduction, revolution in its widest sense, piety in any form you can name—are only affirmations of our desires. And, in fact, these affirmations affirm nothing but our penchant for self-torment, our mania to preserve a demented innocence in the face of gruesome facts.By means of supernatural horror we may evade, if momentarily, the horrific reprisals of affirmation. Every one of us, having been stolen from nonexistence, opens his eyes on the world and looks down the road at a few convulsions and a final obliteration. What a weird scenario. So why affirm anything, why make a pathetic virtue of a terrible necessity? We are destined to a fool’s fate that deserves to be mocked. And since there is no one else around to do the mocking, we will take on the job. So let us indulge in cruel pleasures against ourselves and our pretensions, let us delight in the Cosmic Macabre. At least we may send up a few bitter laughs into the cobwebbed corners of this crusty old universe.Supernatural horror, in all its eerie constructions, enables a reader to taste treats inconsistent with his personal welfare. Admittedly, this is not a practice likely to find universal favor. True macabrists are as rare as poets and form a secret society by the bad-standing of their memberships elsewhere, some of their outside affiliations having been cancelled as early as birth. But those who have gotten a good whiff of other worlds and sampled a cuisine marginal to stable existence will not be able to stay themselves from the uncanny feast of horrors that has been laid out for them. They will loiter in moonlight, eyeing the entranceways to cemeteries, waiting for some propitious moment to crash the gates and see what is inside.Once and for all, let us speak the paradox aloud: We have been force-fed for so long the shudders of a thousand graveyards that at last, seeking a macabre redemption, a salvation by horror, we willingly consume the terrors of the tomb…and find them to our liking.
Thomas Ligotti