The Boy's First Flight
One side of our house was desert
And the other, the one facing east,
Was Eden itself.
I didn't know this until I bounced on a trampoline
And landed on the garage roof, me the unpaid astronaut,
Age nine, knees scuffed from a rough landing.
I looked about, stunned. A breeze lived
In the sycamore and a single-engine airplane
Hung by a thread of exhaust in the darkening sky.
This was 1961. I asked, "Is this for us?" meaning the bushel of stars,
Pitched and pulsating their icy thorns. The moon was a tiger's tooth,
Hooked in a frightening way. I walked back
And forth on the roof, arms out for balance.
I saw my cat and dog, and they saw me, perhaps in awe,
Because they did lift their eyes to me.
And now it's 1999, the end of the millennium,
And it's certainly the end of my knees,
Those springs long gone. A latch of rust groans in each knee-
How they would love that payload of a taut trampoline.
I see these children, how they jump, fall back, and jump again.
If only I could sit on a roof, in summer,
If only I could watch a Shuttle-what lever does the commander push
To make a smile on his face, her face? I'm in the dark, literally,
Ice cubes rattling in my tea. The crickets sing in the weeds,
And soon the Shuttle, dime-bright, will lift off
And pull away. My friends, my suited up pilgrims,
What news will you bring?
- Copyright Gary Soto for the NASA Art Program
Who knew NASA commissioned poetry.
Wish some poet (or other) fella would read this 'un aloud and send us an mp3. 'Twouldn't do for a chick to read this. Feel like I need to hear it aloud.
Speaking of recordings and collaborations:
Come join me in SpinXpress to collaborate on Multi-Media Poetry. I've uploaded the text of this poem and the image. When you've finished your recording, upload it to Spin, where someone else may add a layer.
Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the Multi-Media Poetry Spin group.
POST NOTE: Was inspired by this post to write pal Chris Ritke who recorded the German line from the first verse of T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" and Chris sent an mp3 right back. Listen HERE. Have asked my pal David to record the Latin epigraph. With the epigraph in hand, it's my plan to record for you the first verse of "The Wasteland". The poem in its entirety may be found in Bartleby, HERE.