Poetry from the Space Station

by Nancy Atkinson on April 13, 2012

Don Pettit on the ISS. Credit: NASA

Astronaut Don Pettit is not only a scientist and on-orbit fix-it guy extraordinaire, but he is also a poet. Who knew? Since April is National Poetry Month, Pettit has written a couple of poems while on his tour of duty on the International Space Station. “By venturing into unknown territory, discoveries will be made that tickle our imagination and enrich our minds,” he says. “On the frontier, you can once again see the world through the eyes of a child.”

Read two of his recent poems, below:

I Wonder Why

I wonder why the sky is up, and why the stars abound?
And why the Sun comes up each morn, and why the Earth goes ’round?
I wonder what the Sun on Mars, would bring at dusk and dawn?
I wonder what two moons would say, from Earth lit sky when Sun is gone
I wonder if Mars mountain crags would be a sight to hold?
I wonder if I’d dare to climb, how could I be so bold!
I wonder when Man’s mind will grow, and cease to be so small
I wonder when we’ll venture forth, I hope before we fall
I wonder if we’ll never dare, to reach up through the sky
Forever doomed to live on Earth, and this, I wonder why?

Space is My Mistress

Space is my Mistress,
and she beckons my return.
Since our departure I think of you
and yearn to fly across the heavens arm in arm.
I marvel at your figure,
defined by the edges of continents.
You gaze at me with turquoise eyes,
perhaps mistaken for ocean atolls.
You tease me to fall into your bosom,
sculptured by tectonic rifts,
only to move away as if playing some tantalizing game.
Time and time we turn together,
through day, and night, and day,
repeating encounters every 90 minutes with a freshness,
as if we have never seen our faces before.
We stroll outside together,
enveloped by naked cosmos,
filled with desire to be one.
So close,
you sense my every breath,
which masks your stare through visor haze.
We dance on the swirls of cloud tops,
while skirting the islands of blue.
You know my heart beats fast for you.
Oh, Space is my mistress,
and when our orbits coincide,
we will once again make streaks of aurora across the sky.

See more of Pettit’s musings at his NASA blog.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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