Saturday, 20 July 2019

Moon Landing




Image result for moon landing

This day 50 years ago history was made when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Archibald MacLeish was the poet tasked with writing a poem for the occasion for the next day's New York Times. No easy feat!

Here it is:

Voyage to the Moon - Archibald MacLeish
Presence among us,
wanderer in the skies,
dazzle of silver in our leaves and on our
waters silver,
O
silver evasion in our farthest thought–
“the visiting moon” . . . “the glimpses of the moon” . . .
and we have touched you!
From the first of time,
before the first of time, before the
first men tasted time, we thought of you.
You were a wonder to us, unattainable,
a longing past the reach of longing,
a light beyond our light, our lives–perhaps
a meaning to us…
Now
our hands have touched you in your depth of night.
Three days and three nights we journeyed,
steered by farthest stars, climbed outward,
crossed the invisible tide-rip where the floating dust
falls one way or the other in the void between,
followed that other down, encountered
cold, faced death–unfathomable emptiness . . .
Then, the fourth day evening, we descended,
made fast, set foot at dawn upon your beaches,
sifted between our fingers your cold sand.
We stand here in the dusk, the cold, the silence . . .
and here, as at the first of time, we lift our heads.
Over us, more beautiful than the moon, a
moon, a wonder to us, unattainable,
a longing past the reach of longing,
a light beyond our light, our lives–perhaps
a meaning to us . . .
O, a meaning!
over us on these silent beaches the bright earth,
presence among us.

4 comments:

  1. This poem is breathtaking. I saw an article about the moon landing and brushed it off just about an hour ago. I just found your page and this stilled me.

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    Replies
    1. That's good to hear Heather! I think most of the time poetry can put it much more powerfully than fact.

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