First Men on the Moon

By J. Patrick Lewis b. 1942

"The Eagle has landed!" —Apollo II Commander Neil A. Armstrong
"A magnificent desolation!" — Air Force Colonel Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr.
July 20, 1969

That afternoon in mid-July,
Two pilgrims watched from distant space
The moon ballooning in the sky.
They rose to meet it face-to-face.

Their spidery spaceship, Eagle, dropped
Down gently on the lunar sand.
And when the module's engines stopped,
Rapt silence fell across the land.

The first man down the ladder, Neil,
Spoke words that we remember now—
“One small step...” It made us feel
As if we were there too, somehow.

When Neil planted the flag and Buzz
Collected lunar rocks and dust,
They hopped like kangaroos because
Of gravity. Or wanderlust?

A quarter million miles away,
One small blue planet watched in awe.
And no one who was there that day
Will soon forget the sight they saw.

J. Patrick Lewis, "First Men on the Moon" from A Burst of Firsts: Doers, Shakers, and Record Breakers, published by The Dial Press. Copyright © 2001 by J. Patrick Lewis.  Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd. 

Source: A Burst of Firsts: Doers, Shakers, and Record Breakers (The Dial Press, 2001)

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Poet J. Patrick Lewis b. 1942

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Arts & Sciences, Sciences

 J. Patrick Lewis

Biography

Former Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis grew up in Gary, Indiana and earned a BA at Saint Joseph’s College, an MA at Indiana University, and a PhD in economics at the Ohio State University. Lewis taught in the department of Business, Accounting and Economics at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, until 1998 when he became a full-time writer.

Lewis is the author of more than fifty books of poetry for children, which . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Arts & Sciences, Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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