Watching the Shuttle

 

On the shore a little band,
five or six travelers
chance met, camping on a lake.
One heard that at five minutes after eight
from the Cape, seaward to the east
a mission into space is planned.

The moon, smooth as a fresh-laid egg,
spills a cone of silver scales
on the polished, nearly black,
blue of the water's face.
Pines outline the far shore. Near,
reeds conceal the singing frogs.

Here, I guess, Timicuan
hunted deer and rode canoes
to fish on this same expanse.
They watched these same stars watch themselves,
and the mirrored moon that breaks
in ripples to a silver worm.

On this modest, well-made dock
on this white, full-moon-lit night,
we pass the time with friendly words
and watch the lake-blue distant sky.
Three minutes after eight, a fire
is cast to heaven, ending talk.

Red-gold, blazing bright and brave,
it flares again, drops a stage
to be found in the warm Gulf Stream.
It's like the fishing moon had hooked
a falling star, and thrown it back,
loveliness deserving to be saved.

The watchers' little group will break
and walk the bright road back to camps.
By my fire alone, I think
about this crossing place in time,
where I'm almost as close to stars
as I am to this timeless lake.

Sheri L. Lohr
1/22/00

Everglades poems
 Everglades ballad  In the Pines  Homo Pyrotechnicus  Watching the Shuttle 

 The Purple Gallinule  Piney Woods  Sugar  Mosquitoes  Nothing Out There