“Between two worlds life hovers like a star, ‘Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge, how little do we know that which we are!”
Instructor Black lifted her eyes from the tablet to see if Byron, across centuries and unfathomable distance, had reached her pupils: they looked bored. The space-born always looked bored, only when they gathered after hours to chat quietly in their private cant did they show any animation.
“Now this was written by a great poet before the migration, before the ecolapse, before the information revolution – yet it still speaks to us today. Now I know there are some words you’re not familiar with: ‘night’ you’ll remember is the dark part of the planetary rotation and ‘morn’ indicates the beginning of the exposed phase. ‘Horizon’ is an easy word: on earth I remember great open spaces where one can stand and see the curve of the land fall away, perfectly joined by deep azure skies towering above. That beautiful shimmering line between earth and sky, separating the living from the infinite, is the horizon.”
Her monitor noted students were accessing data-stores to verify her definition of horizon – one had already tagged the definition ‘relevant to historic poetry’. This curriculum was supposed to drench the new generation in human richness; bind them to us; make them part of our story and show them they are not alone. It had failed. Instructor Black realised now it was always doomed to fail.
Blinking back tears, she read on as her students gazed impassively: “Of time and tide rolls on and bears afar, Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge, Lash’d from the foam of ages.”