How I yearn for an image of Armstrong –
Just one – to prove he was the First Man to stand
On the virgin land of an alien world,
The First Man to unfurl a familiar flag
As he sagged under the weight of Fate
And History, breathing rare and precious air
Brought from the blue and green bauble
Gleaming in the squid ink sky, a quarter million miles away…
Instead we have a mere five teasing glimpses of greatness.
This one shows his legs; that one, I think,
His head? A third: the toes of his boot –
The same boot, perhaps, that was the First Boot, the one
That crumped softly down into Luna’s dirt
As he took his famous One Small Step…
But none show his face, the First Face to feel
Sol-light beaming down from an alien sky, or
The First Eyes to stare, wide with wonder, at sights
Dreamed of by Man since the dawn of Time…
Surely there could – there should – have been one?
A single lonely frame could have been set aside to ensure
Historians of ages yet to come do not condemn us
For being fools? Was one in-focus, worth-a-thousand-words
View too much to ask? Was it too hard a task
For the men who built the Saturn 5, who pierced the azure sky
To order Aldrin to snap just one likeness of Armstrong,
To immortalise him, standing proudly on the Moon,
Gold-hued visor raised, his tired smile saying
To the watching world “We did it!”..?
This is the Portrait That Should Have Been;
The picture we should have seen on the covers
Of a million “Collector’s Edition” magazines
In the days after Eagle flew free.
© Stuart Atkinson 2009