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Beacons

Words/Music © by Elizabeth Burnham

The space station turns like a great big wheel
With rows of sparkling lights across its circle of steel.
Its beacon reaches far throughout
The vacuum that surrounds it.

When men explored the seas in ships of wood and sail
To search for brave new worlds or hunt for tuna and for whale
They built stone towers strong with bells that rang by day
And lights that shone by night to help them safely on their way.

To mark the place of cruel rock or hidden reef,
Of swift, treacherous currents, or a channel far too brief
And narrow for a ship to pass, the beacon's flare
Would warn the lucky mariner of danger that lay there.

And when at last we leave this world and reach toward the stars,
With our silvered space ships making port by Jupiter and Mars
These too will need a beacon strong to mark the hidden ways
So they can fare in safety throughout all their days.

And when we travel far enough through time and space
To finally meet an alien culture face to face
We still will want to set a beacon there for all to see,
A place where we can meet in peace, a symbol of safety.