Towards the Stars

Towards the Stars
They slept as they set off for the stars
in their refrigerated beds.

They slept as they passed the planets
and headed for outer space.

The stars watched without moving.
Nothing seemed to move anywhere.

They dreamed no dreams
as the stars kept their endless watch.

Then on a fine morning
they opened like blossoms,

they rose still young from their beds
after a hundred years.
Iain Crichton Smith

from Spaceways: an anthology of space poems, ed John Foster (Oxford University Press, 1986)

Reproduced by permission of the author's Estate.
Iain Crichton Smith

Iain Crichton Smith was raised on Lewis and much of his poetry is grounded in the strict Presbyterian culture of the island, and his protest against it. He wrote both in Gaelic and English, novels and short fiction as well as many volumes of poetry. 'Am Faigh a Ghaidhlig Eas?'/'Shall gaelic die?' meditates on the fate of that language and culture. Crichton Smith wrote poems of lyrical candour and great human understanding, and poems that speculated on the course and meaning of human existence. 

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About Towards the Stars

This poem was reproduced on a postcard for National Poetry Day 2012. Eight poetry postcards are published each year by the Scottish Poetry Library to celebrate National Poetry Day and are distributed throughout Scotland to schools, libraries and other venues. The theme for 2012 was stars. You can find out more about National Poetry Day in our National Poetry Day pages, where you'll also find resources to go with the poems.