Lunch with an astronaut
I’m old enough to have enjoyed many lunches with many people during my time on earth, but none has excited me so much – made me feel like a child again – as lunch with 3 x astronaut, Sam Gemar, at Kennedy Space Centre, during our Christmas holiday on Florida’s Atlantic coast. It really made me broaden my thinking on sense of place!
The experience made me wonder with perhaps a certain nostalgia, and even naivety, whether our imaginations are as turned-on today by the possibilities of space travel and exploration as they were in the sixties, seventies and eighties, or are we more blasé and more interested in the next winner of Britain’s Got Talent or the X Factor? Or am I just becoming a cynical old animal?
I envied Sam Gemar his experiences. His experiences touched a nerve which I have tried to capture in a very childlike poem below which employs some factual deviation...
Sam the Man
Though you resemble an earthling,
you are strange, unlike me, unlike the rest of us.
You dared to dream –
have seen the other side of planet home.
You have walked without weight
through the far-flung emptiness of outer space,
slow-waltzed with showers of asteroids,
free-fallen like a foetus in utero,
been enthralled by light,
scared by dark.
You have hammered rock from the surface of the moon
and there left your tiny footprints for eternity.
Your heart has pulsed to a different beat,
you have breathed in creation,
been brushed by stardust,
touched by timelessness
as I have been by you.