Distant Farewell




Distant Farewell

“I’ve watched
golden fire clouds,
hanging in pale green skies,
over the azure seas of Toluras”

“I’ve seen the copper leaves
of the parmus fronds
flashing from indigo mountains
in the crystal mists of Gemin.”

“I have beheld exquisite beauty
in my rich, full life
but none so beautiful
as your eyes tonight”

Artheo whispers
his breath warms
the tender lobe
of my eager ear

he presses his lips
softly to mine
with gentle passion
bids me farewell

now three hours past
I linger in the bittersweetness

I can still taste him

now here I am
hurtling through space
standing on the aft deck

reliving the sensations

a sudden chill
shocks me sober

been here, done this
precisely this
in every detail


it’s my first time aboard

a foreboding grips me

I shiver as I watch
the jade-sapphire orb
grow smaller

less relevant

it now recedes

less visible
through the carbon-Lucite

zero-g frost
forms and obscures
this breathtaking view
of the lush planet

our home planet

a place
some now on board
will not again see
for fifteen years

if they are
counted among
the fortunate
who do return

we race
exceeding light-speed
toward a distant
call for help

unknown destiny
in uncharted space
with no idea
what we will encounter

the call made it certain
no good lay ahead

I am Sephias
going to Topiarus
to return
in a year’s time

I am distraught

the anxiety
of separation

intense pressure
permeates the crew
who go the distance
to the edge of space
to answer
the cry for help

it is contagious
I feel this too

I feel ungrounded
each time I choose
to leave my man
to go on mission

my soul mate

our love is deep

it has withstood
these essential

we understood
when I joined Far•Worlds
that separation
came with the program

but knowing this
makes it no easier

my anxiety
is heightened further
given this mission’s

at Far•Worlds Corp
we are involved
in new-resources

we’re scientists
not trained spacetroopers

our expertise
not military

this ship
the Thadius
is a space schooner
solar-wind powered

a research vessel
fast and agile

not suited
for space combat

the security force
we have on board
trained to defend
not to attack

they protect us
from known threats
on our journeys
through known space

this mission’s different

the unknown
makes this dangerous

the Dextorium
was an advance ship
sent to reconnoiter
9 months ago

the Dextorium
did in fact carry
a battle-trained
spacetrooper force

but it has now
fallen silent
for many months

not a word

to take my mind
off things disturbing
I drift to Artheo

to our last kiss

he manifest
a calm brave face
at our goodbye

but I knew better

now together
two centuries
rest assured
I know my man

as decorated Primests
of the Science-Sect Elite
we are privileged
with three birthing cycles

to improve the human strain

a 40-year
no-birthing period
our second
now nears its end

we will enter
our third
free-birthing cycle

we both welcome
the sabbatical
of twenty years
that it affords

we’ve begotten
in prior cycles
and love them both

we now dream
of this newest family
our near future
holds in store

this coming family
is most important
in our lives

Artheo’s and mine

state edicts dictate
3rd cycle families
caretake their honored fosters
as health declines

as we move closer
to our stand down
and cryogenic

this new family
will be our comfort
as our current life-phase
draws to a close

as I reflect
I am disrupted

a sudden chaos

panicked commotion
on the foredeck

there is great alarm

I rush forward
in time to see
a startling scene
begin to unfold


in front of our speeding ship

a menacing field
of strange devices

they begin to spread
with apparent logic
to form a grid
blocking our path

acting intelligent
with a single mind
as though a sentient
living thing

they are immense
and they are many
as they assemble
in net-like fashion

as far left and right
as one can see
they are there
from top to bottom

spread far too vast
to travel around
their advancing speed
we cannot outrun

as we approach
the steely web
their acceleration
becomes exponential

no doubt we’re on
a collision course

my senses jolt
I stagger back
in shock and awe

it is now quite clear
what fate befell
our advance party

and it appears – others

they’ve been, well…

they’ve been absorbed
by this horrific
electronic death-mesh

we are defenseless

we on the Thadius
can only stare
frightened — but spellbound

the crew’s emotions
now run the gamut
tears fill most eyes
as hell approaches

it’s then I see it
in the grey-green carbon
and cold blue steel
closing upon us

captured life-energies
of the Dextorium crew
and countless others
that have come before

their vital essence
has been consumed
by this entangled nightmare
that now besets us

their images flicker
in and out of focus
trapped in the grid
held fast – and hopeless

empty looks
of complete surrender
bewildered faces
living ghosts

this thing is coming
this host of evil

I feel helpless
so confused
and so alone

its then I rush
to my solarcomm
to send a message
to Artheo

I begin
by sharing poetry
as is our custom

“I’ve heard the haunting call
of the coral winged Lellurt
in Droon’s violet skies
over teal Darpin Bay”

“right now,
I want to hear
your soothing voice
my precious love.”

“I would give the world
to hear your voice.”

I am speaking
in a tone controlled
yet laced with longing
and melancholy

“I love you my dearest
but something bad
is happening now
here where I am”

“there’s a chance…”
then I must pause
collect myself
to start again

“There is a chance,
I may not return
to you again,
to our sweet life”

here my voice quavers
and then it cracks
as I try to add,
“…or — to our children.”

grasping for courage
I go on

“if this is
to be my end
it falls to you
to raise them now”

“please let them see
they’re loved forever

protect them well
and keep them safe”

it’s now a struggle
to form the words
but filled with love
I press on

“remember my eggs.
they are safely stored
at the Off•World Corp’s
Reproductive Center.”

“my surrogate
has been selected
she is tested
and bonded pure”

“you must see
our new family born
Zenus and Rennar — born

please promise me!“

choking back
so many emotions
I now fight
to conclude the message

this is the last
I will ever send
to my beloved

these are the last words
he’ll hear me speak

“these children,
Zenus and Rennar,
will be the final connection
between you and I”

“remember forever
they are a part
of each of us
my darling one”

“he and she
will care for you
and see you through
your dimming years.”

“they will love you
as you’ll love them

give them my love
tell them about me.”

voice faltering badly
I rise to finish
and share with Artheo
my final words

“god, oh god,
how I want you
here in my arms
my one true love!”

with that,
my heart breaks
as I stare silently
into the screen

teardrops streaming
down my cheeks

12 hours later
the message arrives
on Artheo’s
commstation screen

he is gripped
by disbelief
at what he sees
at what he hears

consumed by horror
unable to move
he stands trembling

frozen by grief

as he sees
my message end
my image flickers
and then it fades

falls to his knees
without sound
silent for some time

with a growing mix
of fear and sorrow
on his ashen face

he throws back his head
thrusts up his arms
straight and stiff
fists clenched in anger

clenched so tightly
cut into palms
and bring forth blood

bloodied hands
whitened knuckles
stab at the stars

he keens and moans
then begins to wail

the guttural
heart-wrenching wail
of a man bereft



• • •

rob kistner © 2008


collage above entitled: “Face the Future” — by: rob kistner © 2008

• • •



~ by Image&VerseToo on March 18, 2008.

57 Responses to “Distant Farewell”

  1. rob.. you have a full length feature film going on here… my goodness and what a tragic ending… i think world off better start hiring non attached units..

  2. I was hoping for a happy ending…but it was a gripping tale. Love the collage too…thank you.

  3. In a way, I wished for such an ending!

    coiled cutters

  4. Paisley –

    “Distant Farewell” is a freeverse poem I just wrote from a potion of an outline I’d created a while ago for a novel.

    NOTE: Who says what you read in the poem is the end for Sephias? The outline for the novel is rather long… 🙂

  5. UL –

    Thank you… 😉

    As I wrote to Paisley above — was what you read in the poem truly the ending for the complete story of Sephias and Artheo? …stay tuned…

    I’m pleased you were engaged by my collage: “Face the Future”.

  6. Gautami –

    Endings are elusive and evolving things… 😉

  7. Yeah, I really like this. When you scroll down the page it’s like travelling through space – great story, with film possibities I’m certain.

  8. I enjoyed the mythological feel to it 🙂

  9. Gripping, like the Odyssey. I love the artwork!!

  10. As I read the poem, I visualised so much surreal artwork and film images. I also thought of fragments of “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury for some reason, plus fragments from “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

    Indeed, you have created a poetic, surreal landscape.

  11. STG –

    Thank you… 😉

    It was inspired for the outline of a novel I’m envisioning. If that comes to fruition, who knows — movie?

  12. Devil Mood –

    Thank you… 😉

    I tried to pull it in an epic direction, but still keep the nature and emotions of characters ‘somewhat’ identifiable to the reader.

  13. Tumblewords —

    Thank you very much for the kind words… 😉

  14. GreyST –

    Those are some heady reflections… thank you for being gracious! 😉

  15. Sounds good – but Rob, with respect, I just don’t get it / the relevance – please help me out here 😉

  16. Redness –

    My piece this week was conceived and written simply to make the reader feel the tragedy of life lost to a cold, merciless, indiscriminate ‘killing machine’.

    It was symbolic, I did not want to preach. I wanted to make people ‘feel’ the tragedy, not just tell them about it. But you didn’t ‘get it’, so I’m getting on my soapbox right now. 🙂

    Bottom line — I don’t ‘get’ the kind of evil I’m referring to, it breaks my heart… and unfortunately it happens far too frequently in our world, gone money mad, technology crazy, and power hungry.

    Current time, the genocides, such as Rwanda and Darfur. The constant goings on in the Middle East. 911, suicide bombings, etc.

    Human life becomes more and more expendable everyday — as we become disconnected meaningfully from each other, and desensitized to ultra-violence. We’re here just to serve the “machine”, and be consumed by it. The money machine, the corrupt government machine, the corrupt business machine — these ‘soulless machines’ are all around us, and they frighten me as much as the machine Sephias encountered in “Distant Farewell”.

    So much hatred, so much evil — I do not ‘get’ it!!


  17. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I read it yesterday and it stayed with me. Very haunting, beautiful and sad. But I do so hope that the lady is rescued by her love. Cliched of me I know, but there you are 🙂

  18. I’d like to read the novel version!

    I did get your point and I don’t ‘get’ all the needless pain and violence inflicted upon others either. Natural disasters do a pretty good job without our help.

  19. Sian –

    Thank you…

    Who knows what may happen in the cold silence of deep space? …I do, I do! 😉

  20. ell –

    You are kind… 😉 …perhaps someday you will be able to read the novel — I’m heading that direction, I hope I get there!

    Violence… it perplexes me beyond comprehension! 😦

  21. This was a complete experience – going well beyond the words.

  22. I certainly hope everyone understands what you are doing with this symbolic as well as engrossing epic. Is there any way that we can stop the killing machine aside from using what skills we have as word-smiths?

    I’m almost ashamed of the rather frivolous (read “selfish”) take that I used this week.

  23. Cricket’s Hearth –

    I’m pleased it captured you… 😉

  24. Granny –

    If people feel the pain, the loss, of the tragedy depicted in “Distant Farewell”, then the message got through… 😉

    Words are my only ‘weapons’ of peace.

  25. All I can do is stare at the screen and wonder!

  26. Steve –

    Is that good? 😉

  27. Do you know? 😉

  28. Wow, what an ending!

  29. Amiene –

    I can hope… 😉

  30. Constance –

    I’m pleased it moved you… 😉

  31. oh that was long! 🙂
    I like the way you create stories which tell tales.

  32. Rob,
    Well done! Since we’ve walked upright and before the scene’s the same. The venue and characters change but the evil, the greed continues to propogate. Fortunately the meek still arise to confront and nip at the heels of the dark ones.
    I like the way this reads.

  33. My my, how novel. Great stuff I must say. That was quite a story. Well done Rob. 🙂

    toujours, lanie-bd

  34. Very nice Rob! You really show your passion here.

  35. This was really gripping! Well done!

  36. Rambler –

    …and slender too! 😉

    Thank you, I’m pleased you enjoyed it.

  37. Rel –

    Thank you very much, I am very pleased you enjoyed this… 😉

    May there always be a voice of reason and peace somewhere speaking out in this chaotic temporal plane.

  38. Beloved –

    You are most gracious… thank you! 😉

    mon meilleur, rob

  39. Tammy –

    You are kind, thank you… 😉

  40. Linda –

    I appreciate your kind words… 😉

  41. A powerful, gripping piece Rob.

    I too called for an end to senseless killing and hatred this week, but I took the preaching route you avoided ;-).

  42. Really gripping and beautiful in all its tragedy. I look forward to hearing more…

    I haven’t had much time to be online this past week, but really appreciated your visit and kind comment. Thanks for stopping by!

  43. Things we love most are the things we must all give up…
    but fail to realize that it is not given up- just changed.
    Like my love of food- I still love chocolate- but I had to change my feelings for it- instead of a whole bag of twix- I just have one 😦 I get what you are saying about things being endless…
    like the eggs that can still make them live in the future, and the lives repeated.

  44. Engaging..The beginning sounds adventurous and romantic and you want the hero to win, and when you get to the end, it seems most impossible for him to win at all. This scenario is flexible to fit most any villanous situation. We need people like you to tell us as it is, not what we wished it would be…

  45. Robin –

    Thank you… 😉

    There is no right or wrong way to deliver a message of such importance, one that needs to be repeated and repeated — until it is heard and embraced, by even the most hardened… I simply chose to parablize.

  46. Heather –

    I appreciate the kind words, and encouragement. 😉

    Someday this may be a novel, until then, perhaps a few serialized sequels?

    You are most welcome…

  47. Daily Panic –

    Round and round we go in the circle of time. We choose how we respond as we pass through — and that response makes a difference in what follows us… we do have impact, but not control.

  48. Marie –

    I’m pleased you were drawn in… 😉

    It may seem our heroes are in dire straits — but nothing is impossible in fiction?

    I do feel it is important to know that life is life, and things good and things bad happen — it is up to us if we let it destroy our spirit, no matter how brutal or unlikely the situation may seem at the moment.

  49. Wow – what an epic! I love this stanza as the tone of the poem changes gear:

    ‘they are immense
    and they are many
    as they assemble
    in net-like fashion’

    Really enjoyed it.

  50. Julia –

    Thank you very much… 😉

    I am pleased you enjoyed this.

  51. im still reviewing the collage… shall i say deep…layers upon layers reflected so well in your story… life and death ouch!.. have enjoyed the last few collages you have attached to your recent works…

  52. Thanks for Visiting!

    I love the collage. I’ll have to come back to finish the poem, it’s a bit long for my attention span tonite…

  53. POP –

    Thank you… 😉 I’m pleased you enjoy my creations.

  54. Onion –

    Thank you… 😉

  55. Great collage – i could see the men and the machine! And the poem is indeed spellbinding for more reasons than one…evokes images in front of the eyes and the flow is so smooth…and as far as peace is concerned, well, i guess we should start at home….getting angry is good sometimes, but only when we drive it & constructively so, without letting it take us over…

  56. when’s the film coming out?

  57. I want to watch it!

    clawing crawlies

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