Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Slow and Steady"

This poem came out of the July 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from ellenmillion.  It has been sponsored out of the general fund based on an audience poll.


Slow and Steady


Looking up at the Moon,
humanity realized that it would
take teamwork to get there.
The nations of the Earth
pooled all of their knowledge,
proceeding with courage and caution.

On October 24, 1960,
Chief Marshal Mitrofan Nedelin
ordered improper shutdown procedures
on an experimental R-16 rocket.
The technicians pointed out the risks
and shut things down properly.

On January 27, 1967,
the command module caught fire
during a ground test at Kennedy Space Center
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward H. White,
and Roger B. Chaffee grabbed their fire extinguishers
and thanked God for safety regulations.

On January 28, 1986,
the space shuttle Challenger
was pulled from launch due to
concerns about the condition of its O-rings.
The questionable parts were replaced,
and the space shuttle launched safely in March.

On February 15, 1996,
programmers found a glitch
in the Intelsat 708 Satellite,
a Long March rocket.
They made the necessary repairs,
and the rocket faithfully followed its course.

So it took a little longer
to get from the Earth to the Moon,
but humanity got there anyway.
The crews were multicultural,
nobody died on the way into space,
and once they got there they didn't stop.

The rocket scientists and astronauts
came from many different countries,
but they all agreed that safety is paramount.
"Take your time, ladies and gentlemen,"
the supervisors always said to the inspectors.
"This is not a race."

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, history, poem, poetry, reading, science, science fiction, space exploration, writing
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