“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 was quoting again, she always got a faraway look when she quoted from old earth fiction. Zendra gestured the phrase to search: ‘Matched: Don Juan by George Gordon Noel (1788 –1824 CE), 6th Baron Byron, AKA Lord Byron.’ The earth-born were obsessed with names: were there truly so many of them that names should be so complicated? Zendra’s mother named her Alice Jane Miller but only the earth-born still use long-form names.
She dug further: ‘British poet and a leading figure in Romanticism; celebrated in life for aristocratic excesses including huge debts, numerous love affairs, and self-imposed exile.’ She chirped her class-mates: ‘Today: sublime wisdom from a drug-head steam-tech playboy’ and followed it with her sig-glyph slighted towards irony.
Black was trying to explain the dead language but had wandered off into a soliloquy about the limited sight-lines of her youth. Each cycle the oldsters became more distant: each parsec they travelled made them more nostalgic, less present. It was getting dangerous to have them in charge.
As she read on Instructor Black appeared to be crying. Zendra exchanged glances with her classmates: life in the hostile vacuum is too hard to waste tears on a long dead poet.
“Of time and tide rolls on and bears afar, Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge, Lash’d from the foam of ages.”