James May at the edge of space
Affable television presenter shot at vast expense
into the upper, upper top of air
sucked peach-mush in his suit and strapping,
looked on the curvature of Earth and said
"I can’t find the words."
AA Gill was outraged: "James,
if you can’t find the words
what are you doing on television?"
Neil Armstrong was on television once;
his words were written by another man,
and then he spoke no more.
The biosphere is a meniscus, which
refracts the sunlight in a blue slice.
At the edge of space it becomes clear
that Earth is our god but she is unconscious of us.
She is as dumb as rock,
and we must speak for her:
Neil, James, and all men and women
with dark minds
inimical to understanding
as the crushing interior of the sun -
that which we dare not see and may not know.
Below the sky, thoughtless of space,
drift into our gaping mouths, gold
words melting unearned like sunflakes.