Monday, July 20, 2009

'Moon Landing'

It's natural the Boys should whoop it up for
so huge a phallic triumph, an adventure
      it would not have occurred to women
      to think worth while, made possible only

because we like huddling in gangs and knowing
the exact time: yes, our sex may in fairness
      hurrah the deed, although the motives
      that primed it were somewhat less than menschlich.

A grand gesture. But what does it period?
What does it osse? We were always adroiter
      with objects than lives, and more facile
      at courage than kindness: from the moment

the first flint was flaked this landing was merely
a matter of time. But our selves, like Adam's,
      still don't fit us exactly, modern
      only in this---our lack of decorum.

Homer's heroes were certainly no braver
than our Trio, but more fortunate: Hector
      was excused the insult of having
      his valor covered by television.

Worth going to see? I can well believe it.
Worth seeing? Mneh! I once rode through a desert
      and was not charmed: give me a watered
      lively garden, remote from blatherers

about the New, the von Brauns and their ilk, where
on August mornings I can count the morning
      glories where to die has a meaning,
      and no engine can shift my perspective.

Unsmudged, thank God, my Moon still queens the Heavens
as She ebbs and fulls, a Presence to glop at,
      Her Old Man, made of grit not protein,
      still visits my Austrian several

with His old detachment, and the old warnings
still have power to scare me: Hybris comes to
      an ugly finish, Irreverence
      is a greater oaf than Superstition.

Our apparatniks will continue making
the usual squalid mess called History:
     all we can pray for is that artists,
     chefs and saints may still appear to blithe it.
- W. H Auden (1969)


My very long-standing Wystan fanclub membership aside, I am still (not having seen Buzz) planning to personally commemorate the event tomorrow, in my own way.

Whoop it up, boys.

Shirley Bassey - 'Moonraker' (1979)


  1. Great poem (especially the bit about the flint). Shame about the attitude.

  2. i once tootled through a desert and was charmed as charmed can be.

    and i'll be whooping along like anything.

    enjoy your celebration sweetie


  3. 'remote from blatherers' - what a phrase! I can't believe I haven't marked this monumental occasion in any way.

    Especially given I was a total space-nutter during the 70s. I once opened a space suit Christmas prezzie in the early hours of Christmas morning (aged 8)and went straight back to bed wearing the full kit(including helmet with visor down )..

    And that Astronaut Action Man - would have given anything for one of those.

  4. I expect you were preparing to be cryogenically frozen for the long journey to the andromeda nebula Mond.

    I like deserts too - I stayed in the one in Arizona once and it was swell.

  5. ooooh the arizona one's my favourite

  6. MY NEWS.I went to the Science Museum to see people doing Brian Eno's music about the moon. First we went into the museum bit where there are rockets and had a nice drink. Then a man with a computer played twiddly music and then there was a lady who played scrunchy music which is made from planets. Then we went up the esclaters to the big cinema which is called a IMAX and some men told us about the film and the music and then we watched the film with a band playing the music. They had guitars and violins but the vioilns were plugged in like electric. It was very good.The best bit was the music which is called 'An Ending (ascent)' which makes you cry when you see it with the pictures. By DavyH aged 7.

  7. Lovely report and lovely poem.

    I'm also a fan of deserts. I once drove from Palm Springs to Las Vegas (long story) and it was breathtaking x.

  8. awwww and i was 5 when they walked on the moon and i stayed home from kindegarten to watch it on TV :) .... i still don't think it was real.


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