I remember our first poetry-writing assignment; it was in fifth grade, the same year we took the Iowa Basic Skills test in our elementary school. I discovered a paper copy in a stack of papers tucked away in a filing cabinet. Our town librarian, when she discovered that I liked science fiction novels, made sure that I got a look at every one that came into our village library. The Stars Are Ours had quite an impact on me. There was a sequel by Andre Norton in my future, and I enjoyed that book, too.
“The Far Voyage”
By Elizabeth “Lizl” Bennefeld
Inspired by Andre Norton’s The Stars Are Ours (1954)
At rest at last upon a foreign soil
that never knew the step of man before.
beneath the rocket’s fins,
red sand and rock stretch forth
to undergird bright, glistening azure seas.
Beyond their landing place,
up gentle, rolling hills,
far travelers, lost refugees
from Earth’s perpetual wars,
survey vast, untouched fields of grain,
their purple tassels swaying in a breeze
that also brushes golden fruit,
which hangs, sun ripened,
from the bordering trees.
A welcome haven, this new world,
to shelter those who fled in fear
before the waves of senseless hate
for all that’s different,
those who would not bow
to serve untruth or cruelty.
With gathered driftwood,
fires are lit beside a newfound sea,
to warm the bodies and the hearts
of those who now are free.
And as the night descends,
moons race across the sky.
And, one by one, new stars appear
in constellations that will light
new nights, new hopes, new dreams.
Before their weary eyes,
new shapes they seem to see-
a lamb, a dove, an olive-sprig wreath,
all signs of eternal peace.
Are they the promise of a new beginning,
or just a cruel mockery?
My first poem, written in fifth grade (~1956).