Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Poem: 73 Seconds

[Wrote this in 1996, 10 years after the Challenger Accident.  It's one of those "Where were you when..." moments that captures and defines a generation.  I'm glad we haven't had one since 9/11. It's annoying, I work with people now who weren't even thought of when we lost Challenger.  It makes me feel old.]

73 Seconds

73 seconds seems so little
to shackle a country to its soil.
So little for a fraction
of a machine to freeze,
to thaw, to expand, to explode.
Barely a minute goes by, 
The Lightship by Atilla Hejja
dreams made real while feeling 
3 G's escaping Nature's 
forces.  The Challenger was caught,
for those few moments, by the
cold January morning, by the
cameras of the media, my the 
minds of every dreamer. 

This dreamer remembers,
being called away from a 4th grade class,
led to a tornado shelter, to a TV, 
to the replays, tragic replays.
No catharsis from the endless
chorus of reporters
only questions of why? 

How to explain the end of a dream, to
schools filled with students, to 
witness a death not just of 7,
but of a minute part of each of us.
How to come home, staring at the news,
hour after hour, counting the seconds,
and feel the nation stop       and take a breath
to find what it had lost. 

1 comment:

  1. That is an excellent poem, thank you for sharing it.
    I was living in England during that time. I remember it well.