new zealand electronic poetry centre


Elizabeth Smither

online works


Conversation with David

Iíd like a little wisdom in this story. Can
you give me an equation to show
my views on stars are not just cursory
and sentimental and plain slow?

Nothing about the gift of dead light
and where gratitude, if any, comes in
since both sender and recipient
are in some senses dead.

Iíve just the thing, you say. This should
impress. I take my pencil and with
bated breath write down: The Drake Formula
N = R* fs fp ne fl fi fr L

the possibility of life on other planets
reduced to an elegant, so expressive formula.
I notice its length, its room for doubt
its all-inclusiveness if someone should get in touch.



©Elizabeth Smither 2004

Last updated 11 May 2001