How to Write Poetry to Communicate With Aliens

“If you were to attempt to communicate with an alien lifeform, what would you want to say? And, just as importantly, how would you say it? It’s a question that has inspired countless science fiction stories and fueled real debate between scientists involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). 

Now, a digital artist and academic has produced his own answer with a collection of mind-bending poems written in an artificial language that was designed for alien communications…

…In this way, Signals can be viewed alternately as a puzzle, an art piece, or as a bonafide icebreaker for interstellar chats. As to whether he sees aliens as the ideal audience, Carter said he is ironically pessimistic about the odds that humans will establish contact with an extraterrestrial species, but added that our urge to search for them is valuable on its own merits. At the very least, our calls to these hypothetical beings can help us evaluate our fragile yet beautiful place in the cosmos.

“I do wonder, in his heart of hearts, whether [Freudenthal] really imagined [Lincos] being used, or whether it was more an intellectual exercise for a human audience, which in many respects, a lot of alien messages really are,” Carter said. “They are not for them, out there. They are for us. They are our attempts at expressing ourselves to the wider cosmos, because the chances of us sending a message out there and it being received and understood is so infinitesimally low as to be almost meaningless.”

-Becky Ferreira, “How to Write Poetry to Communicate With Aliens.” Vice.com. June 28, 2022.

Reminds me of a Zuihitsu phrase: “Every signal has a cost. No costs; no need to communicate it.” What does it cost us to create a poem in a language for aliens? And who are we really communicating with?

Life is a Beautiful Dare

Carefully discern the cost and the calling. 
Then, commit for life, if you are able.
If you can't be X all day, much less for life,
try being X for the next second, minute, or hour.
Failure will never stand in your way,
unless you fail to learn, the true failure.
What you say and do, it matters.
How you survive, it matters.
You don't have to screw people
to live, as long as living is enough.
Make the effort, focus, watch your mind.
For your mind, your ideas about the world
are like trying to capture being alive
with a camera, a microphone, or a word.
It makes objects of moments. Moments
are life, succulent and raw, a ripe fruit
better tasted and felt than captured and told.
Reach for grace, weave it through your life
and the lives of others, in community. Together,
we can build a life of shared experience,
of deep connection and intimacy. Beauty
is everywhere, we only need to strive to see
through our own senses and those of others
to dip into the richness of our lived experience.
Knowing, ain't doing, my friends. I know enough,
to write this, but I also know that I am too frequently
sucking on the stone pit, the abstraction better
thrown away that prevents us from eating good fruit.
And all fruit is best, when it is shared with love.

sam | sara

Whatever comes together | disintegrates, falls apart
 the skeleton key fits, | unlocks our heart's door.
 Desire, stormy weather | on a cartographer's chart,
 wrinkled, it transmits | an unintelligible, mad lore.

 The key catches the lock | faceted truth, splinters
 dirty data, overload | bits are entangled, not lost.
 Progress of the clock  | mind strikes, then winters 
 ticking seconds, explode | the play, dis/plays its cost.
 
Words wound the heart  |  basecamp Sherpa of love
 jungle justice, swamping  | red over red, absent, loose
 tears pool, drip, a start   | the unbidden kind, above
 the tiger, before chomping  | life: marrow or juice?
 
Sight in blind eyes  | illusion becomes truth
 perfect error, knowing  | one's body is another's bread
 reach out, touch skies | blood transfuses into youth
 lives reborn, growing  | feed, burn, then again, dead.
 
Frames on the pictures | no happy, was ever after
 the past cannot speak | so all are new/old battles.
 In the face of strictures  | hear the freedman's laughter
 violence is for the weak  | born again into new saddles.