I was there when the ship launched, a space galley with a warm grey sheath

That collapsed the air around it, like a clear glass bowl

Or one of those hats made of umbrellas sold at the Eiffel tower.

It left a nuanced stripe on cameras, a rhythmic jugular cloud

Which wiped upwards like a stratospheric brush.

There was an electric hush as we sat across the lake, holding flags,

To bear witness to the first event to carry minds and matter across empty space.

I read the journals, the fancy words spilling next to ‘hope’ and ‘thrust’

And the occasional ‘critical mission precedent’ in big, bold type.

The space probes beamed images of redness, a rust both old and new

Which draped the imagination – “Bravery, Endeavour, Pioneers,”

Ran the prints in a collective praise across continents.

Photo courtesy of NASA-Imagery