Ryder in Ammeron
from Legends of Alternity, 1987

Violence in his shaded eyes,
His mouth a scar in the dead landscape,
Mind coiled around long-weathered dwellings,
Dreaming of passions and rage, time and sand.
Unremembered the ghosts who carved their names
On acid-barren hills, gelid lakes, laval tombs.
The memories which brought him here
Have long since fed the dying worm;
No sound of company save the shrill wailing
Of fetid air rushing over seeping valleys,
Clouds chasing hope down through
Petrified forests to a glassy sea.

Voices rise in the wind around him, making him
Forget where he is, for a moment:
Accents from lands now swallowed by the
Deepening ocean and by the relentless years.
Anger moves him – hatred for those
Who caused this world's destruction
Through foolish ventures, lethal actions.
Somewhere inside of him lies the spirit of Hiroshima:
He knows the water he drinks will kill him,
The food he brought to this god-forsaken place
No longer clean or safe.

Here, in Ammeron, all the world's fears
Have crystallised, poisoned any dream of future.
He is the only man left alive
And even his alien blood may not now save him.

Alan Ryder has found the end of evolution.

(jottings for a short story/novella never started)