Gagarin Jumped

From that spinning capsule Gagarin jumped,
It twisted under his feet, tumbled away.

He knew just how far to trust technology,
Enough to get him there and nearly back.

There can be no return to some past state of grace.

Gagarin would realise this as he fought the controls,
Willing his jet to wing over the town.
Too low, too late to eject,
Locked on death’s trajectory.

A poem from Paul Tobin c.1980

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One Response to Gagarin Jumped

  1. Paul Tobin

    I remembered a poem I read years ago in an anthology- Frontier of Going edited by John Fairfax in 1969, published by Panther, I have the 1973 reprint.

    George Barker
    In Memory of Yuri Gagarin

    “-at the death of

    this small man the

    stars threw down

    a hand-

    ful of dark years

    and the moon with-

    drew into her ro-

    tating cave of shadows and

    wept a little. The

    Dog Star hid

    its head

    and the Leonids like

    mice ran squeking

    over the Zodiac. The

    globe eyed ghosts of

    our house of planets crept

    out from cold lairs and

    huddled together as

    the ash of the dog that

    died in the sky fled

    to follow its
    master this dead man

    free in free

    fall at last”

    And Death

    said “I take

    him to me so

    that no dishonour

    can now or ever

    accrue upon

    this man or this name:

    Yuri Gagarin”

    I think that it illustrates just how universal the admiration and respect for Yuri were.

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