Footsteps on Mare Tranquilitas

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Footsteps on Mare Tranquilitas

Postby Saturn » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:51 pm

I've been watching the TV series From The Earth To The Moon and become inspired by the heroism, the wonder, the sheer astonishing human achievement of the Apollo moon missions.

This is my poor response to perhaps mankind's greatest adventure.

I'm not even sure if this one is finished or not, I'm sure there should be a few more verses I need to add, but this is what I've got so far:

Footsteps on Mare Tranquilitas

Desert of granite;
dust swept, barren,
lifeless sea of grain:
Undisturbed in its
grandeur. Soundless.
Its emptiness has
Not even an echo
to befriend the void.
Mare tranquilitas
,
"calm sea", from afar
wise men called it
All unbeknownst
they partitioned,
Parceled out whole
continents, dividing
the face of the moon
Into speculative lands,
oceans, canyons wider
than any here on earth:
an eyeless survey,
pure total guesswork.

No eye had ever seen
the gray dead world.
Footsteps had never
troubled, or disturbed
the cold sandy debris
of a billion or more
years in the making.

So we had to come,
men had to go, trials
undertake, all for a few
Steps on a desert soil.
So, with a parents' care
we walked as little babies,
children's steps at a time,
Like Phaeton so jealous
of a chariot in the skies,
we built our own rude
approximation of Apollo's
glittering coach, a rough
tin can on a piece of string
reaching all the way home.

It was rude, but had grace,
the Eagle's flight was swift,
it had some beauty even
In its stainless steel spider
legged and glittering gold
mish-mash of necessary
form; it had some style.

And mare tranquilitas
had never seen the like,
had never felt the heat.
The dust was scattered
as never before, tossed
and turned by alien force.

So man's eyes now looked
for the first time to the stars
and knew that possibility
and hope, and the future
were no longer barren
and limited prospects
but that the heavens
were an extended vista,
a vast, limitless horizon,
a tideless ocean of black
dotted with a billion lights.

Then two men went to sea,
but found it as dry as stone,
mare tranquilitas, no ocean,
but a desert filled with grain.

And then came the footfall,
like the deepest dive below
in our deepest blackest depth.
Tentative steps, footprints
impressed themselves sure
on the desolate gray face
of a broken, dead world.
__________
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Heaven/Hell » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:34 pm

Simply as awe-inspiring as the celestial voyages themselves. In fact, reading the poem allows the imagination to run wild, boundless and free, with no gravity.
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Postby Saturn » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:59 pm

Tisk tisk my friend, 'tis but a trifle :oops:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby AsphodelElysium » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:08 pm

Mare tranquilitas,
"calm sea", from afar
wise men called it
All unbeknownst
they partitioned,
Parceled out whole
continents, dividing
the face of the moon
Into speculative lands,
oceans, canyons wider
than any here on earth


This is my favorite bit here, but you have some very fine descriptions here.

Like Phaeton so jealous
of a chariot in the skies,
we built our own rude
approximation of Apollo's
glittering coach, a rough
tin can on a piece of string
reaching all the way home.


And here at the end, you've touched on some melancholy beauty.

So man's eyes now looked
for the first time to the stars
and knew that possibility
and hope, and the future
were no longer barren
and limited prospects
but that the heavens
were an extended vista,
a vast, limitless horizon,
a tideless ocean of black
dotted with a billion lights.

Then two men went to sea,
but found it as dry as stone,
mare tranquilitas, no ocean,
but a desert filled with grain.

And then came the footfall,
like the deepest dive below
in our deepest blackest depth.
Tentative steps, footprints
impressed themselves sure
on the desolate gray face
of a broken, dead world.


Very nice, Saturn, very nice!
"Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But, when I am consumed in the fire,
Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire."
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Postby dks » Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:06 pm

So we had to come,
men had to go, trials
undertake, all for a few
Steps on a desert soil.
So, with a parents' care
we walked as little babies,
children's steps at a time,
Like Phaeton so jealous
of a chariot in the skies,
we built our own rude
approximation of Apollo's
glittering coach, a rough
tin can on a piece of string
reaching all the way home.


Absolutely and linguistically delicious...you have some mighty fine passages in this one, Stephen...mighty fine indeed... :!:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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tense,insightful words...

Postby jamiano » Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:07 pm

Dear Saturn,



Your verses esteem the poetic realm:



It's emptiness has
Not even an echo,
to befriend the void

Saturn



peace to love,



jamiano
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Re: Footsteps on Mare Tranquilitas

Postby Saturn » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:50 pm

Thought I'd bump this one for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11...

My own humble tribute to all concerned that made that unique, and still, so many years later, astonishing event possible.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: Footsteps on Mare Tranquilitas

Postby Wynn » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:22 pm

I don't mean to put a damper on anything, but I was wondering if anyone else had this thought of mine: we're going to barren wastelands where people cannot naturally exist, the missions are practically fruitless, when we have people starving in poor countries and disease and we haven't even fully explored Earth. It feels bad spending so many billions of dollars to walk on a rock when the world is in a mess. Had anyone else the same feeling? And this has nothing to do with your fine pome, Saturn.
"Never trust a poet who can't construct a stanza."
— Clive James
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Re: Footsteps on Mare Tranquilitas

Postby Saturn » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:03 am

Well of course everyone has had those thoughts, myself included, and those were concerns raised at the time, and probably many of those concerns led to the early cancellation of the Apollo program, and perhaps that was right thing to do at that time, when hundreds of bodies were coming back from Vietnam etc.

However consider this: mankind is almost by definition curious. It is our curiosity that has advanced us as a species since the first primeval men learned to walk. Curiosity, and experimentation gave us fire, the wheel, language, religion, government, transport, art, literature, all that we take for granted, all that makes us human.
We [as Shakespeare says] "strive with things impossible; yea get the better of them". Our very survival during ice ages and natural and man-made disasters in our history is down to our exploration, our inventiveness, our drive to achieve what seems foolhardy, risky, dangerous and expensive, our natural instinct to survive, and expand our knowledge and our species beyond the horizon, beyond what we know.

Where would the North and South American countries be Wynn, were it not for the daring, courage and foolhardy act of faith of Columbus and the first settlers on your shore? Where the US itself had it bowed down and assented to the wishes of George III?
Where my own country had not millions emigrated across the pond in a desperate attempt to begin anew in the new world?

There is an inexhaustible curiosity, a thirst for understanding within us that can live side by side with social, economic and humanitarian concerns. Even in this economic downturn we [and by we I mean the western world in general] can still help develop and nurture our less well off brothers and sisters in Africa and elsewhere and still have the resources to make bold leaps, giant leaps in scientific endeavour. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The world has been, and always will be chaos, there will always be pandemonium occurring in some place, at some time. The world will never be perfect: disease and poverty, want and ignorance will never be banished completely but pursuits that ennoble us as a species, that bring us together in wonder and pride like the Apollo missions have their place in the world.
Our own planet is fragile and delicate, we must begin the long process of seeking perhaps, in time a new world in the stars as our ancestors took that ship of hope into the unknown.

Hope and knowledge and truth, are not these worth the effort?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: Footsteps on Mare Tranquilitas

Postby Wynn » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:15 pm

Saturn wrote:Where would the North and South American countries be Wynn, were it not for the daring, courage and foolhardy act of faith of Columbus and the first settlers on your shore? Where the US itself had it bowed down and assented to the wishes of George III?
Where my own country had not millions emigrated across the pond in a desperate attempt to begin anew in the new world?

I was speaking more specifically about dead space; at least Columbus was still on our planet, though some people at the time thought he would discover Purgatory :D.
"Never trust a poet who can't construct a stanza."
— Clive James
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