Lack of space on the ground drove us upwards.
Along the border of their territory, we purchased plots of land.
Anxious rumours may have circulated on the arrival of our construction piles
We would not know. We do not speak
their language. The higher the scaffolding reached,
the harder it was to discern its shadow. When they could
no longer hear us building, they lost all interest
and left us to what they considered our insanity,
until we let our pillars fan open to deploy
the segments folded up in their upper sections
into a platform that stretched all over their land.
We filled it up with soil and planted our trees there.
We installed our facilities and established cities.
We founded a second residential layer above theirs
at such a height that in the morning and evening, the sun
could still shed its light on vast tracts of their ground.
Ingratitude greeted the fertile waste we let rain down
on them through the holes in our base,
but they knew that they could do nothing against us.
Damage to the platform would hit them harder than it would us.
Only the rare individual would attempt the ascent of a pillar.
He would strap a belt around it and start climbing.
By means of cameras, we kept up with his performance.
Mostly, he did not get much further than a few hundred yards
but several times now, with mounting sympathy
we have been watching his progress for weeks on end,
until, either from exhaustion or through a slip of hand,
he had to let go just before reaching his goal,
and once again joined his own kind. If one of them
would ever succeed in rounding the edge of the platform,
we would – for if, through power of will
and perseverance, someone can deny his own ground
only to get higher up, he has to be one of us –
welcome him with exultation in our midst.