This poem won honorable mention in Balticon’s 2014 annual poetry contest.
It conveys what we are able to learn by looking back in time to the earliest galaxies which lived fast and died young in a time of turbulence and chaos.
“Bedtime” is when we can see the night sky.
Seeing our progenitor galaxies, we have learned that we are here at just the right moment, when galaxies are spread out and interact less often, and that we are located on an outer spiral arm at a safe distance for life from the galactic center where radiation gets strong enough to damage DNA molecules.
Add to that the special location of Earth from the Sun that allows for liquid water on Earth’s surface, and we begin to realize how amazing are our odds of finding such a comfort zone for sentient life in a universe largely inhospitable to complex biological forms. So many things have to be tweaked, with an “improbable precision,” just as they are, in order to allow for our existence!
We have discovered many layers of moderation that must be present in order for life to achieve the success it has on Earth. It’s not simple to find the time and space that’s “just right,” — what’s termed on many scales to be the Goldilocks Zone.