PASS, hours and vanish. When I die, you die —All hours and years for these are fantasyLacking the Mind that ticks them as they flyTo unreal past from vain futility.All knowledge, Space and Time exist for me,Born in my mind, my Slaves, my instruments,Tools of my thought, and somewhat more sublimeIn that it soon must perish and go henceTaking all concepts with it. Ages agoWhen our young race knew hate, and love and lust,This brain of mine should flow away to dustA grey streak on the ruddy sands of Mars,A broken flash of knowledge, contents spilledBeyond recovery.
Going from tree to seed and seed to tree.Unthinking plants surviving in my place,Not individual mortalityLives on, but immortality of race.
[Editor’s note: The 18-line poem posted above was penned by pioneering science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum prior to his unexpected death in 1935. It was first published in the Winter 1943 issue of Golden Atom and reprinted in A Martian Odyssey and Other Science Fiction Tales: The Collected Short Stories of Stanley G. Weinbaum (Hyperion Press, 1974). The illustration pictured above, drawn by artist Virgil Finlay in 1935 specifically for Weinbaum’s poem, was published in The Book of Virgil Finlay, by Gerry de la Ree (Avon Books, 1976)]