In silence, mouth open in surprise,
I stood beneath the shining Moon.
“It’s only a balloon,” sighed a voice inside
My head, and I knew that, I did,
But my eyes refused to believe it,
Whispering “No, it’s the Moon,
Right there, above you”.

I had to see more.
Clomping up the creaking steps to the balcony
I could see it shining through the door,
The silhouettes of other sightseers
Cut out of it, black ink stains on its glowing face.
I had expected a new Space Race,
A rush to the front, but there was no crush,
Just an awed hush, everyone there
Unable to do anything but stare and stare and stare…
And there – the crescent of Eddington crater.

Downstairs in the darkened church once more
I walked round and and around it, slack-jawed,
Ignoring the hundreds of others gathered there;
Stalking my favourite craters like a hunter,
Smiling when I found them exactly where
They always are in my eyepiece.
There was Tycho – its bright rays
Spraying away from it like splashes of paint;
Schrodinger, with its Donnie Darko rabbit ears,
A fearful hole near the icy southern pole;
Copernicus, mighty Monarch of the Moon,
A cosmic bullet’s entry wound at the end
Of the great Appennine Mountain range…
All perfectly in place –

– and there, right above me,
The most lovely lunar scar of all:
The brutal beauty of Mare Orientale,
A bulls-eye of ancient crags and peaks
Never seen in full from Earth, a sight reserved
For beeping space-probes, Apollo astronauts
And my dreams –

“Where did they land?” an old man asked
From beside me, head tilted back
Like mine. Which ones? I almost replied
But knew exactly who he meant.
Six pairs of boots had stepped carefully down
Ladders to stand on Luna’s plains,
Crump-crumping across the dust,
But only one craft’s name is now remembered:
Eagle, the First, immortalised
By Armstrong’s classic line.
“On the other side,” I sighed,
“Round here,” steering him around a dozen wide-eyed
Children until we both stood beneath Crisium’s
Round, dark birthmark.
“Right… there…” I said, surfing
My laser pointer’s cherry red star
Across the scarred landscape to Tranquility Base.
His face broke into a smile. “Thank you”,
He whispered, “Thank you..” and walked away,
Leaving me alone beneath the Moon.

Wishing it could stay.

(c) Stuart Atkinson 2016

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s