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
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 theOn 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…
Sorry about the inactivity on the blog recently, but been busy-busy elsewhere. Did have enough time to think of a new Folding Mirror poem though, and got it down on the computer this morning. So here it is for you, hot off the press as they say. It’s a sky-diving story from the parachutist’s mind.
The Sky Diver’s Story
The poem concerns a parachute jump, and follows the sky-diver’s thoughts from plane to ground, with the poem dropping from top to bottom along with the sky-diver.
The cloud appears as a carpet from above and as a ceiling from below, after the parachutist falls through it in the folding middle line. It also divides the unknown world above from the life the sky-diver knows.
The words per twinned line (outer and outer etc) mirror each other each side of the folding middle line:
6-4-3-2-3-4-4-3-4 (6) 4-3-4-4-3-2-3-4-6
The line lengths are pretty close, and there’s also some correlation between the themes of the twinned lines, with the sentence halves swapped around in the outer lines. Also a bit of rhyme chucked in for no extra charge!
Cloud Carpet to Ceiling
hands on floor, legs in space
push out and fall
head feels bare
is no thought
devoid in the void
through nowt so clear
I have sped
to the cloud ahead
dividing infinity from what’s inside me
on the ground below
I now head
mind twist and turn
what did you learn
was it fun
cushion the return
no crash and burn
feet on ground, arms in air
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