Poem – THE GHOSTS OF TIME (By Ray Gallucci)




The moon so ghostly naked in space,

A very inhospitable place,

Long thought devoid forever of life

Was once the post for some other race.


Beneath its surface split as by knife,

In hollowed chamber built with great strife,

Entombed for countless ages were found

Machines and gadgets ever so rife.


Exploring crew could only astound

At cache so well preserved underground.

One’s curiosity took its hold,

So button pushed that uttered no sound.


At once a field of force did enfold

That suited figure somewhat too bold.

While others stared from helmeted eyes,

The figure vanished, or so they told.


Report, at first, just treated as lies.

How could the moon hold such a surprise?

Behind the eyeless sockets so bleak

Once lurked a brood of alien spies?


Off-limits placed this grotto unique

Except to personnel cleared to peek

At wonders there so long didn=t touch

Lest some unknown destruction might wreak.


So scientists, technicians and such

Descended on this fabulous clutch

With instruments and probings galore

To learn its secrets however much.


Not one had seen their likeness before

Except, perhaps, in legend and lore.

Had no idea of what any did

Or handbook over which they could pore.


As Krell from Planet that was Forbid

Technology advanced had they hid.

While nowhere getting, behold and lo,

Became alive some energy grid.


Transmogrified before them a glow

Which silently and ever so slow

Revealed a figure suited in grey –

The lost explorer of whom you know.


Mystified, too startled to say,

“Where did you go when you went away?”

They gaped while she materialized,

Exploded, then, with babbling bray.


“What have you of their knowledge surmised?

What brilliance lies in what they devised?”

“I’ll answer all once I’ve had a chance

To rest again ‘neath earth’s azure skies.”


A few days hence the group was entranced

To hear of what unknowns she had glanced.

“My vision faded of where I stood

Till saw before me endless expanse.


“I floated free, knew not how I would

Begin to find escape where I could.

So forward started, or so it seemed,

When curtain parted, unveiled for good.


“And so I ‘walked’ engulfed in a dream

Which played around me light’s ancient beam.

I watched the moon from planetlets form,

Bombarded hard, yet voiceless to scream.


“I turned aside, beheld such a storm

Enshrouding planet quite a bit warm.

The earth amid its prenatal throes,

A swirling cauldron, lifeless its norm.


“I found that which direction I chose

To ‘travel’ took me far or else close

To earth or moon, while speed I traversed

Determined rate at which time‑line flowed.


“Was unaware of hunger or thirst.

From lack of air my lungs never burst.

While ‘movie’ played around me, did pass

No time for either better or worse.


“The earth it cooled, condensed out of gas

Its oceans, then the land formed a mass –

Pangaea where the dinosaurs bred

Till cosmic killer thundered its blast.


“I found by ‘running’ forward time sped,

While veering sideways, up/down instead

Earth’s surface all became within reach

From Lascaux Cave to Caesar’s bald head.


“But one direction never could breach

No matter how I tried to beseech.

No motion backward, however quick,

Could from its forward path time impeach.


“No ‘button’ labeled ‘rewind’ could click.

Nor could in any moment just stick.

Though still I ‘stood’, time yet forward crept.

Had power just to regulate tick.


“Eventually to present I leapt,

And there before you suddenly stepped.

So that’s my tale, believe it or doubt,

Of ‘secret’ that the aliens kept.”


No expedition too soon could mount

To tunnel everywhere to find out

What source of power long lay entombed

Inside the Selenites’ Youthful Fount.


But of that secret forever doomed

To learn no more than offered that room.

The brightest theory best could invent

Still owed its life to so much assumed.


“Perhaps some sort of gravity lens

Imprisons light from time past immense.”

“Then where’s the hole immeasurably black

To photons lock in gravity’s fence?


“The earth and moon impossibly lack

The mass to turn the light ever back

Upon itself so any could view

The ‘Film of Time’ so neatly intact.”


Though came no answer, without adieu

Were organized the test pilots who

Would enter next the Theater of Time

Where only one had ever passed through.


But, try as might, they never could find

The portal to that passage sublime.

Nor could she who had entered within

E’er reproduce her escapade prime.


No button pushed or lever or pin

Would energize those forces again.

So gradually the interest was lost

As if the chamber never had been.


Came colonists, but over they glossed

The sepulcher now buried by frost

From atmosphere created in dome

Built firmly with hard labor and cost.


Each lunar village now someone’s home

Complete with crystalline laser phone.

And to ensure no souls went to hell,

Religions brought from Mecca and Rome.


Surprisingly these faiths still did well

Despite advance of science pell-mell.

But sometimes things could get out of hand

When fundamentalists rang their bell.


Intolerant as ever their stand

Against whatever they wanted banned.

As always holy books were their law –

The Bible and the Sacred Koran.


To colonies remote they would draw

The disillusioned who in them saw

Escape from life responsibly lived

By wielding bone from some ass’s jaw.


Among these “lunar loonies” arrived

A self-anointed “reverend” who thrived

On fiery brimstone hurled by his God

On those he judged among the unshrived.


“The light of Jesus shines where I trod

Although unworthily am I shod.

I welcome saints into my domain

While sinners on spare never the rod.”


Creationistically he’d maintain,

“Evolved we not from microbic strain,”

Though without qualms from science enjoyed

The benefits he’d have you disdain.


With one obsession he ever toyed –

To “prove” the Bible’s tale of his Lord.

And though fanatic, he wasn’t dumb,

So confrontation did not avoid.


His lectures surely interested some,

For from the colonies there would come

Believers and his followers not

To hear his latest whimsical plum.


“I have contrived the ultimate plot

To prove that Jesus’ life isn’t fraught

With stories false as ‘scholars’ decry,

But true exactly just as I’ve taught.


“Perhaps you think to moon traveled I

To only seek some personal high.

But, no, because of secret I’ve learned

That underneath our feet still may lie.


“When first the early rocket ships burned

And moonward curiosity turned,

Explorers found a wonderful cave

Where flow of time itself could be churned.


“I’ve read the legend of one so brave,

A pioneer who probed that enclave

And trod a path attempted by none

Unknowing that my road she had paved.


“So for that cave a search I’ve begun

And I’ll not stop till entry I’ve won

To distant past when Jesus appeared.”

(A task more simply spoken than done.)


As might expect his advocates cheered

While skeptics in the audience jeered,

“On moon so vastly cratered and pocked

How will you tell what’s normal from weird?”


But reverend in his archives had locked

A disc if known would surely have shocked

Both scientists and skeptics who thought

His scholarship in wrong port had docked.


For when the moon first people had sought,

The Lunar Uplift’s secret was wrought –

The cave’s location preserved on disc

From space museum which he had brought.


From followers he three did enlist,

Companions ignorant of the risk

If entered through the alien gate

Where flow of time none could there resist.


But onward spurred in quest of his fate

The reverend after terran days eight

Of searching every cranny and nook

At last unearthed a hoar-frosted plate.


Above his head triumphantly shook

His fist exclaiming, “Now all can look

Upon God’s path by which I will prove

That only truth’s in Holiest Book.”


Dislodging plate with one mighty shove

The pilgrims four along ancient groove

Stepped reverently till chamber unveiled

The contents of which known only you’ve.


So stood they where just one had assailed,

And numbers since had endlessly failed.

But reverend in his smugness unmatched

Believed he’d found Christ’s long hidden Grail.


On surfaces which others had scratched

In vain attempts to portal unlatch,

The reverend searched meticulously

For panel by which time could be snatched.


But, try as might, he just couldn’t see

What sleight of hand or sheer trickery

Would send him back.  And so he excused

From vigil planned his followers three.


Still one remained like reverend enthused

And vowed to wait till reverend had cruised

That path where only Jesus had walked

From birth to death unjustly accused.


If only walls of chamber could talk

And tell them how machinery worked.

But, as before, no clue was displayed,

Yet somewhere knew it secretly lurked.


For inspiration reverend now prayed

While acolyte through pyramids strayed

When wakening subconsciously sensed,

So to the reverend hurriedly said,


“Your holiness, if you would attend

I think some energy’s been dispensed.”

So rising from position of prayer,

He took a step then suddenly tensed.


(We, naturally, by now are aware

Of why and when the energy’s there

To transport back to time ever past

Whomever enters cave without care.


For aliens constructed to last

Machinery none ever outclassed.

But even they had failed to allow

How many aeons time had amassed.


When moon was born, much closer than now

It orbited to earth spinning round.

And so was caught much deeper in grip

Of gravity its parent poured out.


Each year infinitesimal slip

Away from earth moon’s circular trip

Reduced by few the gravitons held

In selenite capacitance strips.


The charge more slowly able to build

And so less often odyssey jelled,

Until today when only enough

Existed after century’s spell.


Criterion which made the “Right Stuff”

To vanish in rare energy puff

Was merely that you just be the first

Who “on/off switches” stumbles among.)


With look of shock he’d never rehearsed

The reverend felt the energy burst

That whisked him back when earth’s naked core

Existed ere the Serpent was cursed.


Like she who path had traveled before,

He found himself in video store

Where he could view whatever he chose

By “moving” toward a mountain or shore.


But cared he not for earth’s natal throes.

Cared not to view how continents rose.

The dinosaurs did not him enthrall,

Nor mammals’ rise or equine’s five toes.


For all this which preceded The Fall

Was just one week which greeted the call

Of God to man created from dust.

And so toward Middle East did he stroll.


But crossing eastern Africa just

As Rift called Great appeared in its crust,

He watch with disbelief at some apes

Who walked on two and mated with lust.


Unable from these sights to escape,

He strode in place while time ticked away.

And so he watched how apes did evolve

To balding beings of humanoid shape.


From heresy he had to resolve

To turn away and seek mental salve.

So down the Nile and ‘cross Sinai’s path

He rushed where thought Four Rivers convolved.


Amid the Fertile Crescent he sat

Where Eden was supposedly at.

But naught he saw of Adam or Eve,

Instead he found a sabertooth cat.


Returning west, he watched creatures leave

From Africa, but could not believe

Those upright beings clad only in skins

Could humans be.  How dare they deceive!


Once earth had passed through millions of spins,

The reverend watched last Ice Age begin

And end, so knew the era had come

When mankind true in Eden would sin.


So slowed he time’s unstoppable thrum

While throughout Middle East did he plumb

Oases, valleys, fruited and rich,

Where Eden had originally sprung.


But Adam and his impudent bitch

Were lost among the multitudes which

Had spread to every sliver of land

From early apes of Olduvai ditch.


He watched for they who to Abraham

Appeared so sinful Sodom could damn.

He waited for the Red Sea to part

And lion to lie down with the lamb.


But gradually grew heavy his heart

For none of these events could he chart.

Begrudgingly he had to admit

His quest had less than optimal start.


“Perhaps Old Testament’s “full of it.”

That doesn’t mean that I have to quit.

Indeed, the tales of Christ must be true

And so to Bethlehem will I flit.”


In Palestine when Rome ruled anew

He searched the sky for radiant view

Of star supposed to show him the spot

Of Jesus’ birth so long overdue.


Though comet flashed, him nowhere it got.

No census, stable, royal slaughter plot.

No hosts of heaven, shepherds or kings.

Miraculous events there were not.


In fact he saw just regular things

Like births and deaths and life’s little flings.

But underneath their daily routine

He sensed the hopes to which people cling.


Throughout the countryside often seen

Were “rabbis” with a Cynical mien.

And one from Galilee seemed to draw

The largest crowds with tongue ever keen.


Encouraged not the breaking of law,

But rather preached of future he saw

Where mercy ruled instead of revenge

And peace was chosen rather than war.


Though cured no sick, still hatred could quench

This Jesus who worked carpenter’s bench.

No water wined or Lazarus raised,

But did indeed stop stoning of wench.


Though ancient lore with which he amazed

Was gleaned from reading prophet and sage,

Humility and eloquence his

Brought hope to merchant, leper and slave.


The reverend heard him hypocrites quiz,

Authorities he dared to off kiss.

While commoners him rallied around,

The powerful feared things were amiss.


Jerusalem at Passover found

Congested streets with festival bound

Crusaders who on Temple converged

To listen to this Jesus astound.


Though normally non-violence he urged,

With wrath into the Temple he surged

Destroying, thus providing excuse

To be arrested, sentenced and scourged.


Supposéd friends were first to refuse

To lend support for feared they would lose

Their lives in Rome’s most horrible way

Upon a cross, pierced, battered and bruised.


A martyr made of Jesus that day

When crucified and thrown in a grave.

Though followers dared not venture forth,

Inside a few still burned with his flame.


The one called Simon looked for the worth

Of Jesus’ death, but found only dearth

Until remembered legends of old

Of winter death and springtime rebirth.


Of Greeks’ Adonis story was told

How dying when the weather turned cold

He’d rise again come spring of next year.

A myth that every culture extolled.


So why could not his Jesus appear,

The Risen God to conquer his fear?

So with his friends this “vision” he shared

That Jesus to them ever was near.


More boldly now this little band dared

To preach how much for all Jesus cared.

Thus little cult was born from his death

And grew among those who had despaired.


Throughout the Middle East rumors spread

Of new religion worshiping dead.

But never would it travel beyond

Till Jews’ rebellion came to a head.


While Rome of Jewish taxes grew fond,

A selfish fringe saw chance to respond

And seize the state from Rome’s distant grasp

By telling masses that they’d been conned.


So from resentment, struck like an asp

The Jewish War destructive and crass

When Hebrew homeland died amid flame

And Jews no longer Temple could clasp.


But from these ashes Jesus’s name

Was heard by others feeling the same

In Antioch, then Athens and Rome

Till Christianity was proclaimed.


Transmogrified to figure of stone,

The reverend gaped in theater alone.

Though most inspiring others would find

The truth of Jesus, he wasn’t one.


No resurrection morning so kind.

No brilliant star or curing the blind.

A man of honor, courage and love

Was born and lived, then finally died.


With dogma and mythology shoved

Aside we see no god from above,

Just Hellenistic spin on a cult

Arisen from the spilling of blood.


No “Holy Cause” Crusaders’ tumult.

No “Heresy” when Cathars were culled.

No Inquisition tortures deserved.

No witch’s pyre should have been built.


Thus to the present reverend unnerved

Returned at last since space-time is curved.

His acolyte asked, “Where have you been?

You seem more than a little disturbed.”


Replied, “My son, I must with chagrin

My proselytizations rescind.

In Jesus found a man, not a god.

All wasted faith on him that I pinned.”


“I must you from this lethargy prod.

So what if just religious façade?

Did not this Jesus live as he preached?

Did not his words inspire the mob?


“Cannot we for his pedestal reach?

Like Buddha, Gandhi, didn’t he teach

A way to live much better than most?

Did not he dignity bring to each?


“Today he may be only a ghost

From past without a deific host.

Does not apply a smile to your face

To know the truth devoid of the boast?”


And so the moon still naked in space

Became a little friendlier place

Where each could live a tolerant life

Because of gift from alien race.


(Published in PABLO LENNIS, 10/97)


Author Bio:

I am a Professional Engineer who has been writing poetry since 1990. I am an incorrigible rhymer, tending toward the skeptical/cynical regarding daily life. I have been fortunate to have been published in poetry magazines and on-line journals such as NUTHOUSE, MOTHER EARTH INTERNATIONAL, FEELINGS/POETS’ PAPER, MÖBIUS (when Jean Hull Herman published), PABLO LENNIS, MUSE OF FIRE, SO YOUNG!, THE AARDVARK ADVENTURER, POETIC LICENSE, THUMBPRINTS, UNLIKELY STORIES, BIBLIOPHILOS, FULLOSIA PRESS, NOMAD’S CHOIR, HIDDEN OAK, PABLO LENNIS, POETSESPRESSO, SOUL FOUNTAIN, WRITER’S JOURNAL, ATLANTIC PACIFIC PRESS, DERONDA REVIEW, LYRIC, THE STORYTELLER, WRITE ON! and DANA LITERARY SOCIETY.