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Cinquain: The Man who Fell to Earth

by Nell 

Posted: 09 July 2006
Word Count: 235
Summary: Joe Kittinger, the first man in space - what a guy!


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V2 The Man who Fell to Earth

Thirty kilometers above the earth
he jumped into thin air. No fear
no sense of falling, only the loneliness of birth
and below, the irresistible blue sphere
pulling him home at the speed of sound the Happy Idea

forecast by Einstein, who never felt the thrill
of weightlessness (he was a different sort of pioneer)
of gazing up at a silver membrane, helium-filled
and shooting into emptiness to disappear.
Now he enters denser atmosphere

slows, pulls the cord, breathes a sigh
floats towards the bed of pillowed cloud
the strangest angel, whispering goodbye
to space, haloed by the sun, unbowed
yet holding on to all he felt, all he was allowed.



V1

Thirty kilometers above the earth
he jumped into thin air. No fear
no sense of falling, only the loneliness of birth
and below, the irresistible blue sphere
pulling him home at the speed of sound the Happy Idea

forecast by Einstein, who never felt the thrill
of weightlessness (he was a different sort of pioneer)
of gazing up at a silver membrane, helium-filled
and shooting into emptiness to disappear.
Now he enters denser atmosphere

slows, pulls the cord, breathes a sigh
floats towards the bed of pillowed cloud
the strangest angel, whispering goodbye
to space, holding on to all he felt, all he was allowed,
Joe, we salute you - you did us proud.








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Comments by other Members



NinaLara at 09:49 on 09 July 2006  Report this post
I like the opening - the literal reference to thin air is great! I also like the reference to Einstein because it draws in the level of thought and inspiration that poetry is also about - that the imaginative thrill may be as good, but different from, the actual experience. For me, this makes the poem truely inspired ... standing on the outside of thought and experience but still feeling the thrill as I watch the words 'fall' on the page. I also like
strangest angel
... but am no sure about the ending line!

Elsie at 10:13 on 09 July 2006  Report this post
Nell, this is lovely - I also really like the strangest angel, and agree abut the last line, it doesn;t seem to be in the same language.

Nell at 11:45 on 09 July 2006  Report this post
Nina, Elsie, thanks for your thoughts. About that last line - I've been walking the dog with it running through my head, I want to say 'I know, I know,' yet something apart from the need to rhyme made me write it (possibly the fact that he's been overlooked and wanting to address that, plus feeling slightly choked when I watch the film - very short compared with another I saw on Discovery a day or so ago).

So I guess it'll have to go - hopefully something will come to me...

Nell.

joanie at 15:25 on 09 July 2006  Report this post
Hi Nell. This really flows, exactly like a free-faller! The rhymes are just right yet not once did they seem forced, except the last one, perhaps. (I know I'm repeating what's been said aready.)

I do like this form and it seems to lend itself beautifully to the subject matter. I enjoyed learning about this man; I hadn't heard of him before, unbelievably!

You have inspired me to try one.

Joan

Nell at 19:39 on 09 July 2006  Report this post
Joan, thanks - I'd never heard of him either. I think he now runs a some sort of arial performance or skydiving circus in the US. I keep imagining what it'd be like to jump from the edge of space...

Nell.

Mac AM at 20:14 on 10 July 2006  Report this post
This is a 'halo jump'. I used to parachute many years ago -met my husband and 12,000 feet in fact!!

What a great idea for a poem. It works really well.

Mac

Mac AM at 20:17 on 10 July 2006  Report this post
This is a 'halo jump'. I used to parachute many years ago -met my husband and 12,000 feet in fact!!

What a great idea for a poem. It works really well. Though I agree about the last line being almost in another voice and out of kilter with the preceeding lines.

Mac

NinaLara at 07:14 on 14 July 2006  Report this post
Hi Nell -

like the new ending. I maintains a sense of the heroic that was in the original but brings us back to the vulnerability of the first verse:

no sense of falling, only the loneliness of birth




Nell at 17:56 on 15 July 2006  Report this post
Mac, Nina, thanks, I'm glad you think the last line works now.

Mac,

...met my husband and 12,000 feet in fact!!



At 12,000 feet?! I wonder if he was haloed like an angel... or perhaps you were. An event just begging for a poem, any way you look at it!

Nell.



DJC at 06:28 on 16 July 2006  Report this post
Nell,

I like this very much - you're able to take a seemingly un poetic subject and weave something lyrical from it. I enjoyed it very much.

D.

Nell at 08:02 on 17 July 2006  Report this post
Darren, thanks!

Nell.

Xenny at 21:22 on 24 July 2006  Report this post
Hey Nell

I read this a little while ago but have only just got around to commenting. I really enjoyed it. I prefer the ending in the revised version I think. I looked at the link - wow. I've done a parachute jump but still can't begin to imagine what this man must have felt. I wonder how many of us would be capable of something like that. Not many I don't think!

Thanks for the read - it's great

Xenny


Nell at 11:37 on 25 July 2006  Report this post
Xenny, thanks!

Nell.


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