The man on the moon

One man, his steps
small down the ladder, but how many hands made this one
step possible to touch moon gravel
for the first time, how many minds dreamed this
man dancing in a vacuum

a moment, the moon a bright curving
giant captured in white, shadowless.
leap, man on the moon, ghostlike on the  film, skip
for the lens, sun-blinded, while
mankind watches

my mother let us stay up
to see this
me in my blue-flowered nightgown
crosslegged on the floor
her saying–remember this
we are watching history

a three-year-old
does not understand
the significance of the man
almost floating off a ladder
walking on the moon
through television snow–
later, I will wave
to the man on the moon
every night
and know he is not that
cratered face
smiling at me
but the astronaut

so tentative at first,
then running
on the moon

***my offering for Dverse this week.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to The man on the moon

  1. Trent Lewin says:

    Gorgeous, and sweetly nostalgic. Susan, you will have to explain how you manage to be this prolific, you are constantly writing and it is always good. That is a real talent.

    • Aw, shucks, Trent…you made me turn all red. I just write them when/if they come to me. Had to write something for Neil, though.

      • Trent Lewin says:

        What’s amazing is that I spent all day in the big city running around like a madman and haven’t returned until just now. I read your post before I learned that he had passed away, just catching up on that news now. So sad. Great poem irrespective.

      • Trent Lewin says:

        What’s amazing is that I spent all day in the big city running around like a madman and haven’t returned until just now. I read your post before I learned that he had passed away, just catching up on that news now. So sad. Great poem irrespective.

  2. nelle says:

    I was up in the wee hours, ready for the Cronkite coverage, and stayed with it all the way. It was a dream for me, because I valued so the entire space programme.

    A friend you might spot on occasion on FB, her father was in the midst of it all. She met Neil, had dinner with him in her home, so too all the others you might name. She has boxes and boxes of memorabilia. For her, not only did Neil’s loss open a window to memory of him, so too did it open to those of her father.

    This… was the most significant, positive thing humans did in my lifetime. From the endeavour sprang an endless array of things we take from granted today. We need to keep our focus outward, it brings out the best in us, and we lost one of those best in Neil.

    • Oh, Nelle–we so did lose one of our best today. I often wonder at our sheer temerity to get there, to walk on the moon. My sympathies to your friend.

      • nelle says:

        I’m sure she’d appreciate it. Her dad endured a couple of huge tragedies during his employ. IIRC, he was last out of the capsule in 1967 when three astronauts died in a fire. Amongst them was my personal favourite, Ed White. And he was there for Challenger in 1986, a tragedy what floored so many of us. Here in this state, Christa was a state hero, and her loss knocked me as hard as the loss of JFK.

        Tarrant has offered to show me some of the memorabilia. The first time I visited, she had been released from the hospital the day before, and we all gathered for her partner’s 40th birthday, so no time. I will eventually!

  3. Oh, yeah–this poem is also an acrostic…

  4. great piece…and great memory Susan!

  5. Kyle says:

    RIP Mr Armstrong – a great epitaph susan

  6. Green Speck says:

    A great tribute !!!

  7. Ian Moone says:

    Really liking this one, I think a lot of poets have a special relationship with the moon, hey I fell off a garden chair just to get a glimpse of a particular good moon as you may recall

  8. I love the way you’ve tackled a momentous bit of history from a personal slant. Really nice.

  9. you’re sounding more and more as Jane Hirschfield ~wonderful Wonderful !

  10. dolbsterthepoet says:

    This is beautifully written.

  11. Kristina says:

    I like this–simple and sweet.

  12. I agree with Trent–sweetly nostalgic—and beautifully written

  13. ayala says:

    Nostalgic and a lovely tribute.

  14. So like my own memories of that great event ~ a fitting tribute methinks

  15. Steve King says:

    I wonder what kind of event would serve to inspire and fascinate today, in the way that Apollo 11 did for those who saw it happening…unforgettable and, unfortunately, a chapter closed forever with Armstrong’s passing.

  16. Grace says:

    A lovely tribute to the man…funny, but he always was amazed at the fuss surrounding his venture to the moon ~

  17. hedgewitch says:

    Sad to see him, and indeed, that whole era, pass. Lovely tribute, Susan.

  18. I remember waving to the man in the moon too – and thinking that it didn’t seem as far away as it had before. Beautiful remembrance of a true hero. K

  19. brian miller says:

    really great tribute susan…was sad to see him pass…his walk before my time i only saw it in newreel and was still inspired…the space program really fascinated me growing up…..

  20. Beautiful juxtaposition of the narrator’s perspective and that of the child, innocent but still filled with the wonder that was the impetus for humankind’s striving for the moon. A wonderful tribute.

  21. Well, I’m with Samuel :). Great work!

  22. kkkkaty says:

    Nice job…and another “where were you when it happened” themes…

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