Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

I think this exuberant tribute to earth from poet Tim Nolan is a most apropos way to celebrate Earth Day.

2010 Poetry Parade: Day 22

Words Can Describe
Tim Nolan

Did you ever think the astronauts should have done
a better job describing the Moon for the rest of us?

We spent billions of dollars to send them there,
to walk around on that glassy sand in those

synthetic mukluk boots, driving their goofy, lunar
dune buggies, slapping a golf ball 5386 yards

to an endless sand trap. We heard that static through
corridors of space until they had the chance to describe

exactly, ROGER, what they saw, AFFIRMATIVE,
and instead we heard: “Words can’t describe,”

CHECK, “the stark beauty,” A-OKAY,
”of the landscape . . . I mean the moonscape.”

They were young. Inarticulate. Absolutely
without words to describe what they saw. But then,

when they watched the Earth Rise from the Moon’s
fluorescent horizon, I remember, their words were pure

excitement and Oh, my God and It’s so beautiful.
We knew what they meant from our Earth-bound

imaginations. We knew that the rising Earth was
the jewel of our breathing, the swirling of our weather,

a wondrous cat’s eye marble rolling across black velvet,
reminding us of our daughters’ faces, the freckled

continents, those oceans of blue eyes, the determined set
of our son’s jaw in the angle of a peninsula. And that stillness

around the globe like a lake viewed through the pine woods.
They were speechless because they were reminded of everything

they missed. From their tin-foil shed, on the Sea of Tranquility,
first witnessing, ROGER, the beloved’s face out there.

This poem first appeared in Legal Studies Forum (2004).
© by Tim Nolan.
Used with the author’s permission.

For full details, go here.

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