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Tidal Lock

for Michael Collins died (Oct. 31, 1930 – April 28, 2021):, Apollo 11 Command Module Astronaut who saw the dark side of the moon

Has one brave man’s small step dethroned the moon
And brought the celestial ineffable down to earth?
The TV replays ran all that afternoon
When that giant leap was made to prove our worth.
Mankind has sailed the seas of boundless space
And science has conquered reckless, wild romance,
Replacing hope and dreams with truthful fact:
But have we lost our innocence and grace?
And will true lovers’ hearts no longer dance
In the full moon’s glow? To be exact,

We’ve yet to grasp the key to reconcile
Our trinity of spirit, heart and mind.
Peace eludes us; we should pause awhile,
Contemplate, investigate and find
What it is that just does the trick
To tell us why the journey matters more
Than finding we have reached our destination.
Then we’ll know what really makes us tick
And what, or who, should form the central core
Of our existence and our aspiration.

We see God’s hand, reaching out to man
On Michelangelo’s famous Sistine ceiling.
Their fingers almost touch. We try to span
That gap in clever ways but the feeling
Of awe and wonder—and humility too—
Brings home the fact that stares us in the face:
That there will never be an end to strife,
That material gain alone will never do
To satisfy the cravings of our race
And bring elusive rest into each life.

Our circling moon is held in tidal lock;
She always keeps the same face turned toward us.
So, when Apollo raced against the clock
To win her, eventually victorious,
Her darker side lay hidden out of view,
Seen just by one—ironic parallel
With our human nature: each bright day
We face the world with confidence anew
But of our hidden turmoil never tell.
This darker side we hide, keep turned away,

Except, perhaps, from the one we love:
Such a very human paradox.
Yet love may be the means to rise above
Our discordant selves, our tidal locks
And harmonize conflicting points of view.
I’ll think of footprints in the lunar dust
When, tonight, I see the full moon’s face;
I’ll ponder on the cost of what we do.
Our restless race will conquer where it must:
I’ll pray each pilgrim finds Tranquility Base.

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Carpe Diem

It’s zero degrees tonight. We feel the cold;
The temperature is certain to fall lower
Next week. We’re starting to get slower
And have good cause to worry; we’re getting old.
Friends advised us not to leave the city
But we craved the beauty of the hills
So we’ll accept the problems and the chills
(And fewer amenities, more’s the pity).
Yet, yesterday, we saw an eagle soar,
Wings outstretched, in a cloudless sky,
Majestic; he affirmed our valiant choice:
Aviator, King, Conquistador!
In our golden years, we’ll try to fly;
Age with dignity. Always rejoice.

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Lawrence Fray was born in the UK, raised in Ireland and has been an educator in several countries before retiring to the Hill Station of Ranikhet in North India.


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4 Responses

  1. Ashish Maijorwar

    Beautifully written. It was great reading the poem. Feel proud to be your neighbor.

    Reply
  2. Tamara Beryl Latham

    Lawrence, what beautiful imagery you’ve managed to incorporate in both your poems.

    The rhymes are excellent and there is a considerable amount of food-for-thought you’ve given us to ponder. You are truly a great writer. Don’t ever give up. 🙂

    Reply

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