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Where were you on July 20, 1969?

By Staff | Jul 17, 2009

On the eve of my 39th birthday, wheeling the TV cart into the living room

of my center hall colonial with my wife and in-laws and my eldest daughter Randy on her grandfather’s lap,

(four-year-old Allegra

asleep in her room),

five pairs of human eyes

drinking in the incredible – men on the moon, greatest scientific feat of all time, and I still struggling with the rabbit ears antenna to make the image clearer;

Armstrong’s carefully prepared

“one step, one leap” metaphor milking in best Madison Avenue style the great moment for what it would always be worth;

my father-in-law and I

engaged in speculation

about how Jewish astronauts could observe Rosh Hashanah, or say the prayer to the new moon while standing on it, my daughter interrupting,

“Grandpa, I know the prayer by heart;” then all of us quiet for a long time – my last hope that it might be a hoax gone,

I felt bereft – beauty and belief and fancies once owned proudly now replaced by a lifeless sphere; next day biggest headline ever on front page of the Times: MEN LAND ON MOON and a poem by Archibald MacLeish

followed a few days later by a special edition featuring several poems, some acclaiming the achievement, others lamenting the loss,

a feast for poets

but my muse silent, lifeless.

Since then,

the moon reminds me

from time to time

that on that day

a member of my species

trampled on her face,

violating with one irreverent step

a million years of magic

and myth and wondrous gazing –