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Words Can Describe
Tim Nolan


Did you ever think the astronauts should have done
a better job describing the Moon for the rest of us?

We spent billions of dollars to send them there,
to walk around on that glassy sand in those

synthetic mukluk boots, driving their goofy, lunar
dune buggies, slapping a golf ball 5386 yards

to an endless sand trap. We heard that static through
corridors of space until they had the chance to describe

exactly, ROGER, what they saw, AFFIRMATIVE,
and instead we heard: "Words canít describe,"

CHECK, "the stark beauty," A-OKAY,
"of the landscape . . . I mean the moonscape."

They were young. Inarticulate. Absolutely
without words to describe what they saw. But then,

when they watched the Earth Rise from the Moonís
fluorescent horizon, I remember, their words were pure

excitement and Oh, my God and Itís so beautiful.
We knew what they meant from our Earth-bound

imaginations. We knew that the rising Earth was
the jewel of our breathing, the swirling of our weather,

a wondrous catís eye marble rolling across black velvet,
reminding us of our daughtersí faces, the freckled

continents, those oceans of blue eyes, the determined set
of our sonís jaw in the angle of a peninsula. And that stillness

around the globe like a lake viewed through the pine woods.
They were speechless because they were reminded of everything

they missed. From their tin-foil shed, on the Sea of Tranquility,
first witnessing, ROGER, the belovedís face out there.

This poem first appeared in Legal Studies Forum.
Used here with the author's permission.


Tim Nolan likes to write poems about "everyday things," as he calls them, from Brussels sprouts to cockroaches. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in English, and from Columbia University with an M.F.A. in writing, Tim's favorite place to write is in the front yard of his home in Minnesota, where he lives with his wife and their three children. Often featured in prestigious print journals, Tim is an attorney in private practice, a career he declares quite compatible with being a poet. His poem, “Red Wing Correctional Facility,” was short-listed for the 2014 Forward Poetry Prize. 


Post New Comment:
This poet should take a trip to the moon. Then maybe he could describe it to his satisfaction.
Posted 04/22/2015 06:02 PM
Ginny C.:
love this poem
Posted 04/22/2015 04:53 PM
Beautiful imagery, bringing earth down to earth...I loved it!
Posted 04/22/2015 01:01 PM
such a good poem
Posted 04/22/2015 08:24 AM
Larry Schug:
I'm a poet; put me in orbit, send me to the moon, to Mars. Aye Cap'n, assign me to the Enterprise. I'll give our universe its due! Good work. I'd expect nothing less from a Minnesota poet.
Posted 04/22/2015 08:19 AM
And where would we be without poets?
Posted 04/22/2015 06:32 AM
I like the way the cat sees it.
Posted 04/22/2015 02:21 AM
Posted 04/21/2015 11:27 PM

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