Monday, 7 March 2011

Space Station Shuttling

Well, I didn't manage to see the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station from which it undocked today, passing over at 7.23pm tonight even with clear skies. I've seen it in the past, but this time was a hopeless "fail", even though thousands saw it. Didn't even have a good picture of the new moon to post tonight, so here's one I took during the afternoon of Jan 14th 2011 over Rotherham, Yorkshire, UK, as a compensation prize, plus a poem I've written to capture tonight's abortive quest to see the satellites.

It rippled through the evening news
Last chance! Look out!
The Space Station and the Shuttle at its heel
Undocked, wheeling unmissable
Over our northern hemisphere

We note the time, the appointment,
Synchronise our watches,
Tapping and nodding,
Grabbing scopes and cameras,
Listening to "The Archers"
To anchor us to earth.

I focus on the new moon
Tipping its cartilage comma,
Punctuating space.
But my hand trembles,
Fluttering the tripod
Like a baby's heartbeat

Each time I frame it,
The image is a paroxism, a ditzy squiggle
Melting as cheese on a burger,
Dithering like the plosive song
In the wren's zithering throat.

So I never saw 'Discovery' rising,
Or the Space Station arc up a mute rainbow,
Clearing the horizon from West through South.

But now they are gone down
Under the obstructive shoulder of earth's core,
I watch the blank plates
At the back of my lens,
While the carnival colours from bulbs
On the Working Men's Club
Scrub out the stars with a litter of lights

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