Blue Marble, credit.
Yuri shot into orbit
fifty years ago
shot seen round the world
he left gravity
saw planet earth
with freshest eyes
then landed hard
with a wish a hope
that together humanity
would save and not destroy
our common home.
"Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!" -
- Yuri Gagarin, 1st person in space, April 12, 1961.
All my life I have viewed images of our planet as seen from outer space. The image is commonplace to people in my generation and younger. But in 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first human to leave the atmosphere and circle the planet. The first to see Earth's water and land and ice, with no geographic borders - before parachuting to solid ground after re-entry. When I heard his words on the radio last week, I was moved by his observation. Fifty years later we haven't figured out how to inhabit the "blue marble" without war or a unified concern for the well-being of our planet.
We do keep trying. Maybe we need these reminders more often.
Find out about The World Space Party, happening all over Planet Earth on April 12.
(I wrote this poem during the Write-a-thon.)