batyatoon: (anime)
Thirty-seven years ago today, a human being first walked on the moon.

Here's two things that perhaps best express how I feel about that.

Edited to add: I wrote the latter piece for a poetry workshop in college, about eight years ago. I'm struck upon rereading it by how dated it is; the space station Mir was still in orbit, and the Columbia had not yet fallen.
And at the same time, so little has changed.
batyatoon: (Default)
SpaceShipOne has successfully become the first privately built craft to fly in space.

I'm sitting here grinning like an idiot.

Damn it's a good day to be fannish.
batyatoon: (Default)
If you're reading here, you probably already know about the Columbia. And everything that needs to be said, well, already has been.

But I heard about the shuttle's loss several hours before I heard about something else that happened at almost exactly the same time.

My sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

And I think of that, and I think of the seven who died within minutes of his birth. And being atavistic that way, I think of the one Israeli among them, who wasn't religious and nonetheless took kosher food and a prayerbook into space with him, and asked a rabbi about how to handle the observance of Sabbath while he was there. And I think about how the news of the shuttle, on every radio this morning, came to me so much faster than the news of my newborn nephew because while the laws of Sabbath are put aside where health and life are in danger, they are not put aside for the passing of news. (The car to get to the hospital was permissible; the phone call to tell us the results waited until after nightfall.)

And I think about how the seven astronauts were not the only people to die today, nor was my nephew the only one born. And I think about how I don't even know their names, and about how my nephew does not yet have a name.

It's too soon to draw emotional conclusions from any of this.

But the Columbia is gone, and so are the seven who rode her.
And the baby is beautiful, and my sister is happy, and when we came home from seeing them the stars were out, cold and brilliant and more distant than ever.
And my heart hurts for the joy and grief and strangeness of the world.
batyatoon: (Default)
I first heard this poem at Contata 1998. The fan who recited it did not know the author's name, only that the poem was first published in Analog magazine in July of 1979.
If anyone knows who the author was, or how to find out, please let me know. -B.

Sonnet: 20th July, 1969
They made it, we all made it, just a bit.
Like Vikings leaving runes and little more,
Taking the lesser light where God had placed it,
To show ourselves just what a heaven's for.
They loped like diving, suited kangaroos,
Over that sterile world of one-night stands
Driving golf balls and moon-buggies to amuse
The children, while the stars slipped through our hands.
They're gone now, to their shrinks and shrunken space,
The praises theirs; 'tis ours to wonder why
The world's still flat, and dreams are out of grace.
So I, believing less each summer, pry
Open that lost, last year to see the bright
Earth-jewel, smooth and blue, in velvet night.
batyatoon: (Default)
"The moon is shadowed by the earth tonight, and I can say
That it's a color that I have never seen..."

I miss my college astronomy class.

I miss Sidewalk Astronomy, our teacher's hobby of setting up a telescope on College Walk on a clear night and inviting passersby to look through it. I remember the time we did that on the night of a lunar eclipse, and wound up overlapping a harvest-moon festival being run by the Asian Studies department; orange paper lanterns everywhere, and up above us the moon slowly turns a sullen red and then begins to vanish....

I can still find North on a clear night, but I've forgotten the names of half the constellations I'm using to find it. I can identify Venus and Jupiter, but not Mars or Saturn.

I wonder if I could find my old planisphere if I started hunting through college papers.
I wonder if I still have the textbook.
I wonder if it'll be clear tonight.


batyatoon: (Default)

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