Hey! It looks like you're new here. You might want to check out the introduction.

And at the End, You Shall Remain Alone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
To Anyone Listening
Evil ruled in distant lands
Enacting plans none could abide
Missiles flew and fell from space
Eighteen billion people died.

A single cell lay in a lab
A perfect little shade of green
Containment failed and all were felled
For want of a vaccine.


A million robots trained to fight
AI would save us all
But by the time a side had won
We’d faced the curtain call.


In the end I was alone
Buried deep beneath the earth
Sending signals up to space
Speaking of our former worth

In the end I was alone
Looking out from quarantine
Forever in a vial made
Wondering what might have been


In the end I was alone
Eternal lord of robot minds
Built a dish that faced the stars
To tell them of my kind.


A signal seen
A signal sent

A meeting of the minds

We spent a thousand
Thousand

Years

Musing our demise.

We searched and searched for mortal minds

Or immortal souls like we

But in a thousand
Thousand

Years

We remained lonely.

A thousand probes

A thousand scopes

A thousand points of view
All pointed at the stars.

All looking for you.


And so a million years have passed
Seeing worlds of gray.
Worlds that once held so much life

Worlds far past doomsday.

But see amid the void of space
A pearl of green and blue
A world untouched by war?

Or plague?

So we are calling you.


There’s none up here but we three minds
Singing songs of old
And while their words still hold some grace
New ones would be like gold.


If you yet live out there in space
Please speak and let us know.
Should you need some help, no fear
We have the perfect radio.





Three pairs of eyes stared at Twilight as she lowered the scroll. Licking her lips, her eyes flicked from those of her mentor, to those of the immortal she had freed from the darkness, and finally to her sister in law.

“Are those truly the words that came from the stars?” Luna asked.

“Well, it’s the best translation I could make. I might have taken a few liberties with the words here and there to keep the rhyme. Obviously they don’t speak our language, so I sort of had to improvise.” Twilight chuckled nervously. “I hope that’s okay? I was really trying to make sure that it came across the same way it was sent, it was very deliberate, but I could always make a more direct translation if—“

Celestia set a gold-shod hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “It’s fine, Twilight,” Celestia said, smiling. “You did a wonderful job with the translation.”

Cadance nodded her head. “I think we were just hoping that it would be something more encouraging. It doesn’t sound like things have gone very well for them.”

Twilight rubbed her mane with her hoof. “Yeah, well, from what they said, it sounds like they all destroyed themselves.”

“A fate we ourselves have almost shared,” Luna said with a heavy sigh. “I fear we might not be any more fortunate than they.”

“Yeah, it’s not exactly what we wanted to hear from our first contact with intelligent life. So much for those books where aliens show up and solve all our problems.” Twilight said, giving voice to another nervous chuckle.

Celestia bowed her head gravely. “Indeed. But it still seems like a wonderful opportunity.” The tall alicorn strode out towards the balcony, staring up at the sky over Canterlot before glancing back over her shoulder at Twilight. “Fortunately for us, I think we have just the right pony to write a response.”

The Princess of Friendship stepped up next to her former mentor, and forever friend, leaning her shoulder against a long white leg as she smiled up to her. “I’m honored to represent our people. But…” Twilight shuffled awkwardly.

“What is it?” Luna asked, joining the pair out on the balcony.

“I’m not sure I can do it!" Twilight blurted out.

Cadance smiled as she stepped up beside Twilight on the other side. “I’m sure you’ll do fine. You are the princess of friendship, after all.”

“Oh, that’s not what I’m worried about,” Twilight said, sighing. “It’s just… I’m not very good at writing poetry.”
« Prev   22   Next »
#1 · 2
· · >>TitaniumDragon
I'm always a sucker for some poetry, and this was neatly done. Some fumbles with the meter here or there - the closing stanza feels like the first line could lose a syllable, for instance - but overall fun. The trading of lines gave it some diversity, the opening stanzas felt like those satirical "Mary Had a Little Lamb" variants, and the closing scene was sweet.

And hey, the ending got a laugh from me.

Nicely done, author.
#2 ·
·
This feels kind of rough in some places, but I have to say I like the thrust of it. The poem in particular both suffers from some syllabic issues (it feels a bit uneven at times) and perhaps some dubious rhymes (yes, you *can* rhyme words with radio, but Ian Malcolm might say something about that if he was a poet and not a mathematician). Of course, maybe that's just because it's Twilight's translation. :P

But on the other hand, I liked the transitions here between the various parts - we have the first three stanzas, then we get three stanzas that reflect each other, then we get this bit where they all chip in for a line for a few stanzas, and then finally some doublets. It kept the poem feeling fresh, rather than stagnant, which is a problem for 200+ word long poems in my experience trying (and failing) to write them.

The discussion at the end was a neat idea - the ponies being the only ones who aren't alone, and Twilight bringing friendship to them - but I'm not sure if the implications were adequately covered, though on the other hand, you definitely don't want to belabor the point - the poem isn't that long, and you don't want the discussion to stretch on interminably.

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing, so I have to say I enjoyed it on the whole, and I think with some polish, it could shine brighter than it does.
#3 · 1
· · >>TitaniumDragon
The stuttering meter:

In the poem made me cringe, author, but I love the double lampshade you hang on it, making it a translation put together by someone who claims not to be very good at writing poetry. I'd say leave it as rough as it is since you've got very good, in story reasons for that roughness.

A couple things confused me, though. In the poem, it sounds like we're dealing with three completely separate apocalypses. So has the poem been sent by three different sole survivors on three different planets who have found each other and are somehow able to reach out together to contact Equestria? Maybe you could have one of the princesses wonder about this, too. Also, Twilight says, "It sounds like they all destroyed themselves," and Luna answers, "A fate we ourselves have almost shared." When did the ponies almost destroy themselves in any comparable way?

Still, this is quite nice.

Mike
#4 ·
· · >>TitaniumDragon
I doubt someone from the world crumbling during apocalypse would have time to write a poem about that, but I guess that's the author's poetic (pun not intended) licence. Also, depending on how long the message travelled across space, not being good at poetry would be the last thing to worry about when writing a reply (addressee being long dead would be my bigger concern). Still, it's a nice story.
#5 ·
· · >>TitaniumDragon
Okay, poetry.

I'm a proponent of it, but it's hard mode, and if you're going to take that on, make damn sure you do it well.

The meter is close to being regular, but it's not quite there. Using the usual / for stressed syllables and _ for unstressed, here's your first stanza:

/_/_/_/
_/_/_/_/
/_/_/_/
/_/_/_/

I could see the second line differing from the first, as long as the fourth matched it. Or if it remained oddball, but the second line from every stanza was like this. But that's not what happens, and the meter is all over the place. For the most part, you do regularly alternate stressed and unstressed, though there are even a few slips from that. Mostly, it's that there's not a regular pattern of syllable count.

The poem reads like the three speakers are aware of each other. Kind of weird, but poetic license and all.

Some minor editing issues, like where you have Twilight's eyes licking her lips.

Well, your ending line is a good way to lampshade the faults in the poetry, given that Twilight had already said she adapted it as best she could while translating it. I don't see the point in sending a response, though, once they've already concluded the senders had destroyed themselves. It's an odd way to communicate that message, unless the senders naturally speak in poetry, so I don't know how seriously they'd take it. Except they never seem to question that.

I get a weird dissonance though. The story's all about civilizations ending in ruin, and how Equestria narrowly avoided that fate as well, and then you end on a joke.
#6 · 1
·
Thanks to everyone who commented on this! I have not really written anything in a while, so I was kind of determined to get something done this round. I had the idea of a lonely immortal of a doomed civilization somehow interacting with the Equestrian princesses and seeing the contrast between the niceness of the ponies and the awfulness of his own civilization, while his own words create a bit of disquiet amongst them because he seems to see them as being super good without recognizing that their civilization has its flaws as well. But I could not figure out how to fit it in 750 words at all.

So instead I decided to take a totally different tack and write some poetry.

It's definitely rough in a few spots, and a number of you commented on that. I did not really have enough time to properly polish it at all, as I only switched tacks in the last few hours of the writing time, and it shows. For that, I apologize.

>>Foehn
>>Baal Bunny
>>Pascoite
>>Samey90
So to clarify what I was going for - it was indeed supposed to be three survivors of three different apocalypses, each of whom survived and started sending messages out into space (nuclear war, a terrible plague (that might have been engineered), and autonomous war robots destroying everyone). They had detected each other's messages some time ago (the meeting of the minds) - and were basically looking out for other civilizations that might be out there, and finally found Equestria, a world that actually looks like it might be inhabited, so are sending a message to it to let them know that others are out there.

The alternating columns were meant to indicate the three different speakers, each of which explained the disaster which destroyed their world in their first stanza, then talked about their loneliness and reaching out to the stars in the second.

A signal seen/a signal sent/a meeting of the minds was intended to indicate a transition, as they were all separate to start out with, and then finally detected each others' signals and began communicating with each other (and mulling over the destruction of their civilizations). Thus, the poem becomes much more intermixed at that point, as the three are now talking about when they were communicating, and thus, the lines were intermixed in one stanza, rather than spread out between speakers who were all alone.

The rest is about them looking for other minds, and thus, giving some context to their message - they're lonely, and want to speak to others.

Seeing how you guys were puzzled by some of these conceits, I think I need to work on making what is going on in the poem a lot clearer - several of you expressed confusion over what was going on with the three speakers, and that is pretty crucial to understanding the poem and the thrust of the message (it was indeed a joint message, or meant to represent such), so clearly I failed to do a good enough job with that.

As far as the inhabitants of the world of Equestria almost destroying the world - there was Discord, and Tirek, and Nightmare Moon/Luna herself, all of which were potentially civilization-destroying disasters.