Last week NASA announced that its mission to smash a rocket into a large crater at the lunar south pole, hoping to kick up ice, had been a success. There’s water on the Moon. And not just a bit: “significant amounts”. Scientists who studied the data say instruments trained on the impact plume saw “copious quantities” of water-ice and water vapour.
Last week also, Stephen Vorley from Bibby Offshore sent me a poem, ‘Space’, written by his ten-year-old daughter, Maria, and for which she was awarded a Certificate of Merit by Young Writers. (Congratulations to Maria!) Beneath its humour and fun rhymes, I love the curiosity, the sense of trying to work out your own position in the universe (‘Space is a place where there is a human race / There is a girl who lives in the human race’). And, as her Dad points out, Mars sounds particularly attractive…
Thinking of a poem to link these two things together – and thinking too of Carl Sagan’s spine-tingling line, “We are how the universe comes to know itself” – I can do no better than Ted Hughes’s ‘Full Moon and Little Frieda’. Enjoy it, and if you have time, leave a comment and tell me your own thoughts.
Space is a place where there is a human race
There is a girl who lives in the human race
She has a pace
She leaves a trace
But I am always on her case
Mars has lots of stars
And has lots of bars
When you look at the stars
You might think it is Mars
Pluto is a planet
Which is made of granite
Mercury is also made of granite
So are all the other planets
Full Moon and Little Frieda
A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark
and the clank of a bucket –
And you listening.
A spider’s web, tense for the dew’s touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming – mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.
Cows are going home in the lane there,
looping the hedges with their warm
wreaths of breath –
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.
‘Moon!’ you cry suddenly, ‘Moon! Moon!’
The moon has stepped back like an artist
gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.