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The Cosmonaut

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  • The Cosmonaut

    This is no sleeper's tale I see
    In fleeting unreality,
    Brought forth by dark imaginings
    Beneath the ever turning sky,
    Whilst dreaming meaning in the stars,
    Dark chamber with its secrets locked,
    Inscrutable above the clouds,
    Unsearchable by mankind's thoughts.

    But here weighs crushing certainty,
    As expectation ends its course.
    The work of fire waits patiently
    To be unleashed with fearful force.
    Incineration, smoke and dust,
    Failed launches and the deaths of men,
    Scarred remnants and the sooty streaks
    That cease the slow countdown from ten.
    So stands the rocket, ruling o'er
    The gantry and the blackened grave.
    Machine king on its mighty throne,
    Commanding all to be its slave.

    And so I sit upon the hill,
    Awake, whilst others spin their dreams,
    And look upon the monolith,
    In sodium and moonlit beams.
    Abandoned in that yellow light,
    I see the steps that climb the tower,
    Ascent of man into the night,
    For glory, honour and for power.
    The seconds tick abysmally,
    The night-time's dislocation.
    Time is in paralysis,
    In this the dead hour junction.
    Until the morning then, my friend,
    I'll climb the steps and take my place,
    To die or to ascend on high,
    And know the liberty of space.
    So stands the gantry and the span,
    The gravestone or triumphal arch.
    To hell or to a darker place,
    With shouts of praise or funeral march.

  • #2
    Wonderful tribute to those who brave the unknown (or less known) on this, the Challenger anniversary!


    • #3
      Wasn't aware of the anniversary, so hope I don't offend anyone. Thanks for reading!


      • #4
        Hi Neil Thomas Fellows -- Great poem, I was really happy to read it (again). You take some dark material and express it with beautiful, clean rhymes, sweet flow, which turned into something really capturing. Searching. The Cosmonaut... I like the suspense it began with. The "branching" paths at the end, possibility, resignation and resolution. I like the comfidence of this piece! Thanks for sharing! Kudos, and peace.


        • Neil Thomas Fellows
          Neil Thomas Fellows commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for that. I'm just an old sci-fi buff at heart. Makes me wonder if there is a market out there for science fiction poetry, or is that just my peculiar taste?

        • Muttado1sb
          Muttado1sb commented
          Editing a comment
          Neil, there is actually a Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. I don't know how big the market is, but it exists. :-)

      • #5
        This is a wonderfully intricate piece! Quite beautiful.


      • #6
        Nice musing on the possibilities of the future, and the weighing of decisions. Very well done, NTF! Like RLW I thought of the Challenger, as well as the footage of the Apollo 1 test. It also sounded like it was influenced by the covers of old science fiction pulp paperbacks.


        • Neil Thomas Fellows
          Neil Thomas Fellows commented
          Editing a comment
          You are right. I had in mind some fictional launch-pad, just like in some pulp paperback and only added the title 'The Cosmonaut' to bring it down to earth, if you will forgive the mixed metaphor. Thanks for the info !