July 20, 1969
They should have sent a poet with us scientists. But the Mission’s success
is far too critical to leave in non-technical hands and no computational plan
would accommodate an additional man.
As long as night has torn the peaceful sweet of day,
And orb of ghostly light pulled time and tide along its way,
That long have fools and sages pondered why
The step-child moon menaces world and sky.
Before engineering and flight school I studied history. Sailors, shepherds,
cavemen, kings, all subject to this moon. No one’s ever been immune.
So ancient souls bemoaned its hazen rings,
Omen of tempests, torments, born of godless things.
Its blood-red face foretold in prophecy,
Apocalyptic star-cursed tragedy.
Affirmative. Poet imperative. But I am the one who has to convey
the historic importance of today.
Yet this the moment now dispels our dread,
Undoing doubts we’ve wailed as prophets bled.
To tame the sterile rock as was designed
I take One Giant Leap for all mankind.
Must rehearse that “Giant Leap” verse. Brainwork of some pedant
on the payroll. Now it’s all political.
A leap unmatched by legions’ swollen ranks
when continents lay leveled in their tracks.
This chasm breached by stepping to the sky;
my mortal footprint firm in Heaven’s eye.
When the moon-a hits your eye like a big-ga pizza pie…
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Author: Ruth Maus
“Tranquility Base” is included in the poetry book, Valentine
coming from Meadowlark Books, August 2019.