If we find life a few light-years from here,
and it turns out that that life’s multi-celled
and that it is intelligent,
I fear they’ll still be dumb,
and hope will be dispelled.
What if they’re even stupider than us –
some ancient culture that never evolved –
no bronze age, their metallurgy stannous,
no art that’s great, no science problems solved,
no philosophical issues addressed,
not one mathematical postulate,
their cosmic observations not assessed
no genius apparent to celebrate?
What if they are still tribal and wage war,
reminding us that we’ve not come that far?