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