A Ray Bradbury Poem Celebrating The Exploration Of Space
The desire to go further has always inspired human history
In 2017, NASA reported the existence of seven new exo-planets on which may exist conditions for the support of life as we currently understand it. Although such a study takes many years (even generations of study, according to one of the researchers), the news revived an old hope: living long enough to establish relationships with other planets. Will we be prepared for such a feat, not only from the technical and scientific point of view, but from the ethical and human point of view?
In 1971, NASA sent the unmanned probe, Mariner 9, to Mars. During those days, the scientific community met with some of the brightest literary and scientific minds of the time to give perspective on important events. Among them were Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury. On this occasion, Bradbury (the renowned author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451) shared a brief poem which “sums up my feelings on why I love space travel, why I write science fiction, why I’m intrigued with what’s going on this weekend at Mars.”
Through references to the Old Testament and to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Bradbury defends the impulse, both physical and spiritual, that’s led human beings to spread out and to want to reach for the stars. The “Thomas” of whom the poet speaks toward the end of the poem may be Thomas Cranmer, one of the three martyrs of Oxford, burned at the stake during the 16th century for spreading a faith – the Anglican faith – which didn’t depend on the Church of Rome.
The fence we walked between the years
Did balance us serene
It was a place half in the sky where
In the green of leaf and promising of peach
We’d reach our hands to touch and almost touch the sky
If we could reach and touch, we said,
‘Twould teach us, not to, never to, be dead
We ached and almost touched that stuff;
Our reach was never quite enough.
If only we had taller been
And touched God’s cuff, His hem,
We would not have to go with them
Who’ve gone before,
Who, short as us, stood tall as they could stand
And hoped by stretching tall that they might keep their land
Their home, their hearth, their flesh and soul.
But they, like us, were standing in a hole
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measured out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s hand come down the other way
To measure man and find him Good
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that
Short man, Large dream
I send my rockets forth between my ears
Hoping an inch of Good is worth a pound of years
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now