A Sonnet to Life Elsewhere

Look out into the night and count the stars
You see and then multiply by a factor
Of seventy septillion to add their numbers to ours –
Or eighty octillion if you want to be exacter.

Now you'd think all alien citizens could see their own sun
From a vantage point on a planet within their solar system,
Yet at times the the sum of sunset viewers drops near “none”
Due to revolving planets and stationary wisdom.

The only beings for light-millennia around
On a given candidate planet might be found
Lying asleep on their shaded ground,
Not seeing their own sun by night,
Because the rest of their planet blocks the light.
But us? From earth? Oh, we can still see it twinkling all right.

           — Richard Hacken