I think this is the best poem I’ve ever written. It’s a sort of paean to the space shuttle. I wrote it back in 2005, when the shuttles were still flying.
The countdown closes quick upon the point
When hydrogen and steel will push as one
And will with flame tumultuously anoint
That beast which looks with envy on the sun.
A light! Two hundred decibels explode
The crowd exhales – a thousand boiling winds
Surround the glowing column and its load:
The shuddering leviathan ascends.
And up – and up – the azure curtain parts –
The well of black, ablaze with powdered snow
Reverberates through fresh-elated hearts –
The panoramic arc unfolds below;
And passing into silence with a sigh
The falcon skirts the surface of the sky.
I never got to see a shuttle launch, and now I never will.
Did you ever see one? Would you want to?