MAKING WAVES (©Words and Music by Paul F. Cowlan)

Astronomers have never entirely given up the possibility of making contact with extra-terrestrials; but are earthlings and aliens really equipped to receive or even recognize each other’s messages? After all we have enough difficulty understanding other members of the same species, not to mention animals and plants. Sometimes the bridges seem to be dauntingly few and far between.


On Planet X they dream strange dreams.
The midnight skies are black.
They beam their questions to the stars
but they get no answers back.
They know that the star-fields have no end,
but there’s no response to the calls they send,
and they fear that the contact may depend
on a secret which they lack.

On Planet Y they’re just as strange.
They’re neither short nor tall.
They can’t be touched, they’re hard to see,
and they never speak at all.
But they send their thoughts into the sky,
in the hope that someone might reply.
But the stars burn cold, and time goes by,
and ‘space’ is like a wall.

The True Believer speaks to God;
but the rest are bound for Hell.
The bridges are few and far between
and the fears too deep to tell.
But loneliness will yield its place
to loneliness in a stranger’s face,
and, safe at home, the hunted race
can persecute as well.

A rapid-fire rattle in the dead of the night,
or a bomb in a quiet square,
are the voices of Hate and Pain and Fear
letting everybody know they’re there.
You weren’t even born when this all began
though you still have to live with it as best you can;
but what they believe or where they stand,
well, it’s sometimes hard to care.

There are slogans scrawled on the back-court wall
but the language makes no sense.
The face of The Stranger is always there,
on both sides of the fence.
Alien eyes and alien skin,
and alien thoughts that you can’t begin
to understand, or to welcome in
with any confidence.


And the radio pulse from Planet X
soon reaches Planet Y,
where the streams of thought spread like a wave
to every corner of the sky.
But undetected overhead
the messages remain unread,
and neither one hears what the other has said,

or even knows they tried.