RIP Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the moon, or 'to land on a dream.'
Here is an amazing description of that moon landing by May Swenson, every line as riveting as the images at the time must have been. It is a language of wonder and awe, fear and excitement.
It is also a commentary on achieving dreams. We all have our moon landings that we dream of, and this poem gets us to thinking of when we finally get there and set foot on 'the forehead of a myth', what will it be like exactly? Along with the achievement, comes an emptying of mystery, an analysis of what was once an enigma, and a reality that may not live up to our own.
Is it better to keep some dreams at a distance, to keep them in a 'magnate' state, or to dare to pursue them?
Landing on the Moon - May Swenson
When in the mask of night there shone that cut,
we were riddled. A probe reached down
and stroked some nerve in us,
as if the glint from a wizard's eye, of silver,
slanted out of the mask of the unknown-
pit of riddles, the scratch-marked sky.
When, albino bowl on cloth of jet,
it spilled its virile rays,
our eyes enlarged, our blood reared with the waves.
We craved its secret, but unreachable
it held away from us, chilly and frail.
Distance kept it magnate. Enigma made it white.
When we learned to read it with our rod,
reflected light revealed
a lead mirror, a bruised shield
seamed with scars and shadow-soiled.
A half faced sycophant, its glitter borrowed,
rode around our throne.
On the moon there shines earth light
as moonlight shines upon the earth…
If on its obsidian we set our weightless foot,
and sniff no wind, and lick no rain
and feel no gauze between us and the Fire
will we trot its grassless skull, sick for the homelike shade?
Naked to the earth-beam we shall be,
who have arrived to map an apparition,
who walk upon the forehead of a myth.
Can flesh rub with symbol? If our ball
be iron, and not light, our earliest wish
eclipses. Dare we land upon a dream?