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The Last Man on the Moon

On December 11, 1972, 42 years ago, Apollo 17 landed on the moon. It was the final Apollo mission. I have long been obsessed with the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions; with the space race to the moon. So obsessed, that I have a whole series of poems on this subject. It’s a series I’m still working on. Here’s one of the early ones, a sestina about the Moon Shot. Here’s a more recent one, in honor of today’s anniversary:

Last Man

            for Eugene Cernan

The politics of timing are a boon
to famous men like Armstrong who got there first.
Who knows the name of the last man on the moon?

Remember winners, the heroes of high noon,
spotlit by lucky honor, fit to burst.
The politics of timing are a boon.

History might have whistled a different tune,
or things that went badly could have gone much worse.
Who knows? The name of the last man on the moon

doesn’t inspire the awe-bedazzled swoon
of Armstrong. Strong-arm. One step in the dust.
The politics of timing are a boon

to men like him. The stories that balloon
from chance to headlines shout about who’s first.
Who knows the name of the last man? On the moon,

the footprints of Apollo are cocooned
from passing time (a hero’s only curse).
The politics of timing are a boon.
Who knows the name of the last man on the moon?

 

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3 thoughts on “The Last Man on the Moon”

  1. I love all your moon poems 🙂

    Last night I dreamt that I was in a workshop with you, and you were the teacher. The twist was that I’d written a poem about someone else’s poem and included a phrase that had been left out of that person’s poem. But you made the good point – how could we know what had been left out? Still, I did, somehow (and I guess by virtue of including it, it was no longer omitted – but now was it mine instead of theirs? 🙂 Anyway, odd dream – hope you’re well!

  2. Ohhh, a good villanelle is hard to find. I like yours.

    And I was just reading Mary Ruefle’s “Poetry and the Moon” essay today, so this just feels like a wonderful come around at the end of the day (making the day its own kind of villanelle 😉 )

    1. Somebody (I’m voting for you) needs to write about this idea of a day being a kind of villanelle! Thanks very much for taking time to comment.

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