For centuries, poets have been instructing their poems to go off and carry words and feelings out into the world, hoping they will find kindly readers. “Go little poem,” (or “book,” or “song,”) is a common phrase that goes back to the literature of ancient Rome. In the Middle Ages, such an ‘envoy’ often apologized for the poem’s inadequacies and asked for the reader’s forgiveness.
I like messing around with traditional forms like the sonnet. For my Valentine envoy, I imagined my poem as one of those small Voyager spacecraft, travelling out beyond the boundaries of the solar system. An alien intelligence, finding one of them, would surely realize right away that it was an artefact made with purpose.
And, of course, the poem is for my dear Valentine, David.
Go, little poem, into the space between
planets, across the unbounded page
inscribed by stars. A tiny, ticking machine
of levers and polished surfaces –
clear evidence of intent, design.
Let the aliens who intercept it
learn the virtues of this love of mine,
his kindly constellation. Let them share
my wonder at the dense relationship
of soul and smile, within the dear,
dear boundaries of skin. Go little ship
of space beyond the gravity of time,
and — beating always — prove
that there is, indeed, a god