%AM, %23 %041 %1983 %00:%Sep

The Astronaut's Girl Bemoans His Going

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Images courtesy of jan von holleben

She fancied him he fancied himself a bit
But strung her along enough before he left
She fell head over heels in love with him
And landed up right there in bed

Six minutes ten and counting...

He buckled, fudged, asked 'How was it?'
'Fantastic' she said but thought 'ter-rif-fic

A minute ago he's all over me.
The next, it's all over. Is that it?'

Five minutes thirty and she's looking good

She remembers how sudden he'd given in
Gasped, gasps, is gasping
Her eyes turn round unmoved
To gaze at the empty moon

Three minutes fifteen all systems go

'Don't be like that. What's got into you?'
'Oh nothing' she mutters 'nothing at all'

'Well you knew my position when we started it'
'I only wish' she quips 'I could say you did'

Two minutes ten seconds two minutes five

Shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh
Bolder and bolder but never
Eye to eye

Twenty seconds nineteen seconds eighteen
'Think of it this way, I'm doing it for you'
'Oh thanks' she retorted 'I'm over the moon'


'I once thought lovers couldn't love too much'
'Be sensible' he said 'we'll stay in touch'

And then
Lift off


As he blasted up through the stratosphere
A nation gasped and a nation cheered
And then a computer failed on the flightboard deck
A nation gasped and held its breath
And for eight weeks he was marooned in space
As a nation yawned and turned away

But spinning
Thirty miles above his girlfriend's head
This is the message the astronaut sent

"Now that the moon beams
Upon my dreams
And nothing is amiss
For nothing ever is
But seems

The universe comprises
Two sheets of white silk
On which gravity dances
With big black boots

And comets are just satellites
Refusing to grow old
And moons are only meteors
Who never leave home

Like one of those captive satellites
I've gone so far now I can't turn back
Too long in zero gravity
Bones brittle, muscles slack

Exiled by my adventure
I must circle endlessly in space
Held in geostationary orbit
Unable to return, unable to escape

When I was young one planet was enough
And I never had the urge to roam
But as I grew older I began to wonder
If the whole universe couldn't be my home
I've been here and I've been there
And now I'm a stranger everywhere..."

During this broadcast, solar power stopped
His beacon disappeared, radio contact lost,
And spinning
At the speed of light his words revert
To the background static of the universe

Once upon a time they say
The heavens were filled with gods
But they took them down one day
And in their place put stars
Film stars
TV stars rock stars

And every night the people come out to watch
They watch and they wait and they wish
And if they're very very lucky
They might just see one star fall

Seeing the streaming stars, while others sleep
Staring out of the black of a winter's night
Over frozen rivers
She can see each point of light
Shining so specifically
That like a probe or beacon of distress the thought
Flashes across her mind
That this is none other than the remains of her lover
Burning up on re-entry

 'No doubt I'm only seeing things
And it's all just in the mind
It's no wonder what with the state I'm in
A trick of the light
The water in my eye

No doubt no
No wonder

And that's neither here nor there
No no no far be it from me
So here I am getting carried away
But will you tell me please where is he?'

Astronomers made observations, collated data,
Compiled reports,
But she only registered one passing remark
That the space between bodies is so
Astronomically vast
Should a star question a star it might
Die before it was answered

Peter Jukes 1983

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