For Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins

Eagle Landing
for the Astronauts of Apollo 11

That unrestrained spire riding
Olympic flames of science and prayer
landed two men on land
never before bearing a weight of man
all those miles above the very sky itself:
Apollo’s flaming chariot bearing no gods
but men armored in suits crafted by hands
that never escaped the earth
except only in dreams or in death.

And wasn’t death the risk
that three faced before,
that fourteen others faced after,
that escaping the surly bonds of this mass
on which all of us must always walk
save the twelve who strolled on lunar soil
somehow defies nature’s numerical sense
of the unwritten laws even Icarus
could not escape.

I was only two when
that single white needle of 36 stories
but so much more than even that
stuck ghostly in my brain
with black and white memory
propelling me later to view
the silver face of the moon
through a white cardboard telescope
lying in summer nights on Colorado lawn
praying the deepest prayer a ten year-old could muster
to get a closer look,
oh, please God, let it be so

to only drift later into dreams
of silver darts shooting past the sky,
dreams as sacred as prayers
that even now I pray harder than any boy ever could.

Copyright 2008, Shawn Pavey. All rights reserved

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