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Scientific Romance

I wrote this poem for my wife on Valentine’s Day two years ago. The problem is, I don’t think I’ll ever write a better Valentine’s Day poem (though I’ll keep trying). But for all you lovers (and lovers of science fiction) here it is again:

Scientific Romance

If starship travel from our
Earth to some far
star and back again
at velocities approaching the speed
of light made you younger than me
due to the relativistic effects
of time dilation,
I’d show up on your doorstep hoping
you’d developed a thing for older men,
and I’d ask you to show me everything you
learned to pass the time
out there in the endless void
of night.

If we were the sole survivors
of a zombie apocalypse
and you were bitten and transformed
into a walking corpse
I wouldn’t even pick up my
assault shotgun,
I’d just let you take a bite
out of me, because I’d rather be
undead forever
with you
than alive alone
without you.

If I had a time machine, I’d go back
to the days of your youth
to see how you became the someone
I love so much today, and then
I’d return to the moment we first met
just so I could see my own face
when I saw your face
for the first time,
and okay,
I’d probably travel to the time
when we were a young couple
and try to get a three-way
going. I never understood
why more time travelers don’t do
that sort of thing.

If the alien invaders come
and hover in stern judgment
over our cities, trying to decide
whether to invite us to the Galactic
Federation of Confederated
Galaxies or if instead
a little genocide is called for,
I think our love could be a powerful
argument for the continued preservation
of humanity in general, or at least,
of you and me
in particular.

If we were captives together
in an alien zoo, I’d try to make
the best of it, cultivate a streak
of xeno-exhibitionism,
waggle my eyebrows, and make jokes
about breeding in captivity.

If I became lost in
the multiverse, exploring
infinite parallel dimensions, my
only criterion for settling
down somewhere would be
whether or not I could find you:
and once I did, I’d stay there even
if it was a world ruled by giant spider-
priests, or one where killer
robots won the Civil War, or even
a world where sandwiches
were never invented, because
you’d make it the best
of all possible worlds anyway,
and plus
we could get rich
off inventing sandwiches.

If the Singularity comes
and we upload our minds into a vast
computer simulation of near-infinite
complexity and perfect resolution,
and become capable of experiencing any
fantasy, exploring worlds bound only
by our enhanced imaginations,
I’d still spend at least 10^21 processing
cycles a month just sitting
on a virtual couch with you,
watching virtual TV,
eating virtual fajitas,
holding virtual hands,
and wishing
for the real thing.

Published inpoetry


  1. Ellie Ellie

    Poems written for other people are always the best ones. Happy or sad.

    Speaking (somewhat tangentially) of lovers and poetry, it was your “Orpheus Among the Cabbages” that first brought me back to writing poems after a long absence and introduced me to specfic poetry as an artistic possibility. Not that I have, since then, written so very much very well. But still. Thank you for your work. I hope you and your family are having quite a nice holiday.

  2. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Thanks, Ellie!

    I don’t write much poetry myself, anymore. I should do so more often.

  3. M.A. M.A.

    That is the best love poem I’ve read in my entire life! Hope to see you Sunday at the Other Change of Hob. (Dang, been reading your stuff for years; didn’t realize we’re practically neighbors.)

  4. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Awesome! Hope you make it to Other Change. Be sure to introduce yourself if you do.

    I’ve been in the East Bay for about 11 years, mostly in Oakland — just moved to South Berkeley a couple years ago.

  5. Nicola Priest Nicola Priest

    This poem is so brilliant that we used it as a reading at our wedding ceremony last year. Thank you so much for writing it 🙂 x

  6. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    So glad you like it, and congratulations on the marriage!

  7. Natalie Marion Natalie Marion

    My fiancee and me are reading this out to each other at our wedding this Saturday. It is amazing. 😉

  8. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Congratulations on the nuptials!

  9. Brian Froelich Brian Froelich

    Just attended a wedding where the justice of the peace read this out at the request of the couple, lots of chuckles and even a few tears.

  10. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Always happy to hear this!

  11. Andrew Andrew

    Loved it!
    Tim I thought I was a geek but after reading your poem I’m just a ge.

  12. […] genuine ceremony that was exactly what these two would have wanted.   There was also a reading of Scientific Romance by Tim Pratt which I loved!  Of course there were also almost as many cameras present as there […]

  13. This was silly and sweet and the perfect thing to share with my wife for our anniversary. Thank you for sharing it.

  14. Julie Julie

    I would like to get a portion of this tattooed on me with your approval please. It has meant so much to me for so long!

  15. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    I would be honored! Please send me a photo if you do!

  16. Maggie Maggie

    Echoing others: my husband and I asked two of our good friends to read this at our recent wedding, to many laughs and much applause. I was so happy to find something that was romantic and meaningful without just being heavy (and reflected our mutual love of scifi/fantasy!).

  17. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Yay! I’m so glad. Congratulations on the marriage!

  18. Beth Hynes-Ciernia Beth Hynes-Ciernia

    Fascinating! My daughter and her groom also used selections of this poem for their wedding on November 5th. Due to a cold, the reader ended up sharing the reading with her brother – and the resulting duet was even better than expected as it included both “voices” (bride and groom). Thanks for sharing this poem!
    Mother of the bride.

  19. Philly Philly

    Thank you so much for creating and sharing this!!! If it is okay with you, I would love to recite some of this poem during my wedding ceremony this Spring. You see, I love Science more than English, and every vow I try to write, sounds like a cheesy scene in a telenovela.

  20. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Feel free, and congratulations on the upcoming marriage!

  21. Dario Dario

    Just heard this read at a wedding – more than a few laughs and tears ensued. It’s lovely, thank you.

  22. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Always happy to hear that!

  23. stephen stephen

    Is this published in any books that I can purchase???

  24. When I originally commented I seem to have clicked
    on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I recieve four emails
    with the same comment. There has to be a means you are
    able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

  25. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Uh, I haven’t the foggiest idea how that works but I don’t think it’s something I can do?

  26. Laura C Laura C

    Hi Tim! Just another fan who loves your poem. We read it together at our wedding last summer, alternating verses. The three-way line got an incredible laugh from my husband’s stepmom.

  27. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    How wonderful! Congratulations on the nuptials!

  28. Laura Parmenter Laura Parmenter

    This is fantastic, so glad I stumbled upon it! My fiance and I will be using this to read to each other during our Elopement this upcoming Sunday. Perfectly scif-fi and perfectly funny. Thank you for this! I have a feeling it will be my favorite part of our ceremony.

  29. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    I’m so happy to hear it! Congratulations on the union. I wish you all the best.

  30. Such a beautiful poem, Tim.
    No need to top that magic! Magic comes and goes. This poem remains!
    It was my great honour to read this poem at my niece’s wedding last March.
    Your words of love have inspired the flames of true romance in so many people; people you don’t even know.
    And that is the power of poetry.

  31. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    Thank you so much!

  32. Starward Starward

    I have been reading science fiction since the summer of 1970, and poetry since the spring of 1972. So I have some credibility of reading experience behind me when I say that this is one of the finest pieces of science fiction, of love poetry, and of science fiction love poetry that I have ever read. Ever. Its use of several science fiction tropes in order to deploy them to express love for the Beloved is too brilliant for my poor words to describe. I am sooooo very glad that random browsing brought me to this poem that I am bookmarking to my laptop favorites so that I can revisit it, which I intend to do soon and often. Thank you for posting this magnificent poem.

  33. Tim Pratt Tim Pratt

    I’m so glad you like it!

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