History Just Shelley

Once we believe in ourselves…

Another e.e. cummings poem has been coming to mind lately, spurred on by the discussions about the ‘proper’ amount of sorrow we should feel at the loss of the Columbia crew. Proper sorrow. What is that? I do not know what proper sorrow is.

cummings once said:

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

For me, I can’t think of a better good-bye to the Columbia and its crew (Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and Llan Ramon) than that quote, and the following poem,¬†If I believe:

if i believe
in death be sure
of this
it is

because you have loved me,
moon and sunset
stars and flowers
gold creshendo and silver muting

of seatides
i trusted not,
one night
when in my fingers

drooped your shining body
when my heart
sang between your perfect

darkness and beauty of stars
was on my mouth petals danced
against my eyes
and down

the singing reaches of
my soul
the green–

greeting pale
departing irrevocable
i knew thee death.

and when
i have offered up each fragrant
night,when all my days
shall have before a certain

face become

from the ashes
thou wilt rise and thou
wilt come to her and brush

the mischief from her eyes and fold
mouth the new
flower with

thy unimaginable
wings,where dwells the breath
of all persisting stars

e.e. cummings, from Tulips and Chimneys

A goodbye to Columbia, but never to space; and never to wonder and the unquenchable human spirit of the child within.

Archived with comments at Wayback Machine

Print Friendly, PDF & Email