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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Lunar Legacies

© Robyn Hood Black, all rights reserved
Last night was the last of the “Master Naturalist” classes I took this fall at Elachee Nature Science Center, with astronomy on the menu. Wouldn’t you know it – the only rain we’ve had all week fell last night. We couldn’t use the telescopes, but astronomer Robert Webb didn’t let that stop him from presenting a terrific program (including a squeeze of adults inside the small, inflatable star lab dome in the museum!)

So I’m feeling rather lunar, appreciating the spectacular orb that’s 1/48th the size of our earth, 238,855 miles away, and which travels at a couple thousand miles per hour. If you stop to think about what an amazing feat it was to get the lunar module landed safely up there in 1969, well – it’s mind-boggling. Those folks had guts. And smarts.

Here are some moon-related morsels:

First, some 13th-Century praise from St. Francis of Assissi’s Canticle to the Sun (Note: Katherine Paterson and Pamela Dalton’s book from this summer is on my “to-buy” list!)

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.


Click here for the entire song.

Now, let’s jump ahead 600 years to see a different view with a fragment from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s

To The Moon
[excerpt]

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing Heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,--
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?


(It’s here.)

Later in the 19th Century, we’re back to celebrating – I can’t ever resist these closing lines from Edward Lear’s
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
[excerpt]

They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.


And don’t you just love that runcible spoon? The full poem can be found here.

Finally, jump ahead to just 42 years ago. Not that long ago in the space/time continuum! Here are a few lines from current Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis’s 2001 poem,

First Men on the Moon
[excerpt]

That afternoon in mid-July,
Two pilgrims watched from distant space
The moon ballooning in the sky.
They rose to meet it face-to-face.
Their spidery spaceship, Eagle, dropped
Down gently on the lunar sand.
And when the module's engines stopped,
Rapt silence fell across the land. …


Click here for the rest of that poetic account of an event that changed our lives and changed history.

The next full moon is just a week away! Plan now to go outside and then write a “moon viewing” haiku or other poem, or read more celestial offerings. For more down-to-earth poetry, check out today's Poetry Friday Roundup hosted by Laura at Writing the World for Kids.
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