Spacer's Compass

South I shipped…galactic south
spanning the reaches of unbounded space
         through the moss stars and beyond
hanging with this crew or that
            a rough lot they were
            or some just strange
   stranger than you’d care to know
        for a light year or two on the fly
 
West I wandered…galactic west
            leaving lovers changing friends  
      past clusters hanging in the heavens
         like burning ingots and bands of flame
     landing always in a different land
            a ready cup for alien ways              
            seeking never so much an answer
     as a fix…a frame of reference
              to sift my strangeness from
 
East I flew…galactic east
   against the words of wiser souls
      to decaying grandeurs steeped in fog
            and cultures deadly spent
         to language worlds and pleasure worlds
     and the mother world or fabled so
            a desolation of rust and snow
                    heir only to its past
 
Old I grow…galactic old
   the polar night now calls my name
      and still I tramp the stellar routes
         from burning white to burning red
            jump cutting lives and lands
      fixing no frame of reference
         beyond the passage itself
               adrift in the passages   
                     yet to be taken
 
         Space has no directions
            and holds all directions at once
                  a well of radiant possibilities
            all matter of strangeness
 
                 …and the stars are for the living