“I once rode through a desert
and was not charmed” — Auden
With no way to get up there anymore
without hitching a ride with the old enemy;
disgraceful maybe, or just over-trusting.
The world stage changes ever faster these days.
It was never as triumphally phallic
as the old means; the way it opened, its
curves; made for a toy a girl might play with;
balanced form against utility I guess.
Next they should send up a big globule with
tourists trapped inside to amuse the scientists;
some third-worlders with bits of homespun wisdom.
Live bait for the Super Brains and the taunting brave.
Palavering gawkers on the ground await
fragments — remember Challenger? God-awful.
(What were we challenging, humility?)
Maybe this new thing springs a leak, aborts them.
And then what, if another disaster?
Maybe best to stay on the ground for awhile;
sick of always having to conquer the Big
Out There; never willingly looking inward.
I saw one once, coming in at Canaveral.
It was awe-inspiring: but I was a kid,
does that count? my mind marveled at everything.
Uncharmed now, and afraid to vote up or down.