Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem celebrates Felix Baumgartner‘s triple world-record-breaking twenty-four mile balloon journey into space, and 9-minute (540 seconds) free fall back to Earth, during which he became the first human to break the sound barrier without a vehicle. Here it is:
Balloonist Baumgartner, Flying Felix
I’m going home
to the only place I’ve known
it’s twenty-four miles away
but it’s straight all the way
no bends, lights or diversions
distractions, stations or merging
just falling and spinning
breaking sound barrier, entering Earth’s atmosphere
pulling chute and landing
sunshine, horizon and sky
warm desert, friends of Earth
it’s just the way I remember
before five-forty seconds fall
from the highest a balloonist’s been
feeling so humble
Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has several books available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).
Hi, it’s Greenygrey. Wow, we’re still buzzing here from Felix Baumgartner‘s amazing space jump from 128,000 feet, where he became the:
- first human to break through the sound barrier unaided, going faster than the speed of sound
- made the highest freefall
- became the highest manned balloon flight.
We’ve been on Earth so long now that it’s hard to be amazed, but that was amazing in so many ways:
- Felix’s view from the capsule ladder was amazing
- When he jumped off it was vicariously amazing
- When he seemed to be spinning out of control it was amazingly scary
- When he regained control and opened the parachute it was an amazing relief.
Why, Marc Latham, who has also been on Earth a long time, and got some personal buzzes from Flamingo Land rides and a short-flight this year, described it as ‘probably the moon-landing moment of my life’, after he’d grown up seeing the drama and history of Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, and then learning about how dangerous and ground-breaking it was.
The Beauty of Earth and its Bog – All Open Spaces
And we must admit it is an even greater achievement than our solo google maps ramble across North America, and Grey’s even soloer google maps ramble across Oz.
The slang observant amongst you might have noticed the BOGOL play on words in yesterday’s episode of the Werewolf of Oz. As well as being a play on words with BOGOF, BOGOL is also a contraction of bog-all, which a web slang dictionary describes as: ‘Noun. Nothing, or a total lack of. E.g.”We’ve bog all chance of winning without our captain and best player.” ‘
Although the Australian Outback and Northern Territories might not have many famous landmarks to an overseas visitor, and so we made a joke of it, that of course means there’s lots of unspoilt nature, as well as some interesting human communities.
And all that open space can be useful for human exploration and discovery, both physical and mental, as the Felix Baumgartner team used so well in and above the American desert yesterday… and which Kerouac and Cassady travelled by mind and motor over sixty years ago, before it was written up in the On The Road book.
And don’t worry, Grey found lots of interesting things in the Oz outback, as old Werewolf of Oz fans will no doubt know, and new ones will discover…