In Austin at 7:03 the evening of December 9, 2000,
I witnessed an amazing sight.
The International Space Station and Space Shuttle rose from the western horizon in a pair
and traversed the sky, disappearing in the north as they exited the sun's rays. One object
was bright orange (due to wide solar array?), the other silvery white. If you extend your arm
and make a V for Victory with your fingers, look at your fingertips: That's about how far apart they were.
I was so moved, I wrote the
I saw two stars leave west for north;
Silent, exuberant, they slid forth
Bright orange and white, they slit the night
Reflecting freshly sleeping sun.
Separated at birth, looked down on Earth;
Spied malls and spare ranches,
Eclipsed by bare branches;
Tiny, shining wings unfolded
Seen through leafless trees, occulted.
Playfully cast like jacks through crisp air in the fall,
Platinum asterisks scattered about this terrestrial ball;
The Hand of God anoints the
Hands of man.
Sparkle bright, fleeting precious Gemini,
Mine eyes have seen and will never be the same.
Millennium Mission, glimpsed in a moment's vision,
Another giant step, for mankind forever changed.
Copyright 2000 by Tom Polk
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