- The Green Hills of Earth
- Let the sweet fresh breezes heal me
As they rove around the girth
Of our lovely mother planet
Of the cool, green hills of Earth.
We rot in the moulds of Venus,
We retch at her tainted breath.
Foul are her flooded jungles,
Crawling with unclean death.
We've tried each spinning space mote
And reckoned its true worth:
Take us back again to the homes of men
On the cool, green hills of Earth.
The arching sky is calling
Spacemen back to their trade.
ALL HANDS! STAND BY! FREE FALLING!
And the lights below us fade.
Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps a race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet ---
We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.
--Robert A Heinlein
This one is kind of cheating since I haven't memorized the whole thing, but I thought it would round out the week quite nicely. The poem is from Robert A Heinlein's story by the same name, which I read in the compilation The Past Through Tomorrow. Though the poem is excellent on its own, the fictional story of its composition (as recounted in the aforementioned short story) makes it much more powerful. I like it when poems and stories go together, each giving the other more weight. My other favorite story in this collection of excellent stories if The Man Who Sold the Moon
The summer I read Heinlein's Future History stories for the first time, I tried to write my own short story/poem combination. I got a couple of poems out, which you can read on my tiggywinkle site, but the stories never materialized. In one, The Jupiter Pluto Run there's a guy who has to sit alone in a spaceship for the very long time (maybe several months) it takes to get from Jupiter to Pluto because the supply ship needs human control on takeoff and landing. It would talk about how lonely he gets, how he spends his time to keep from going crazy, why he's doing it, and that sort of thing. The other was going to be called Company Man and it would talk about two guys who work for a powerful company that is pretty much in charge of everything that happens out in space (you know the type if you've read or watched this sort of sci-fi--the kind that owns your soul like the old coal mining companies). One would be pretty high up in management, and he wants to just take off and explore, but can't because of his work and family responsibilities, and the other is a grunt worker, trying everything to earn enough money to just get back to earth. I've written several scenes that might get expanded into full stories one day...but not today.