"The Final Frontier"

Nature with its awesome fort,
Heaven and earth controlled;
But science and NASA sought
To rise above and be so bold.

They said, "We will rise on high,
Go to heaven, leave the earth."
Their pompous popes decreed,
"We are ready; let us go!"

But a little white boy said, "No!
Nature's voice speaks loudly
Through the cold dark night
The voice of doom and death."

Some workers huddled in fear,
"The physics of properties bare
Are no match for this bitter cold,"
Their voices quavered and quaked.

But a little black girl listened
As the little white boy explained
The looks of Nature's awesome face
That only Nature's God could bless.

The little white boy watched the sun
And listened when Nature spoke,
But brilliant scientists were deaf
As the babbling of NASA's pope.

Pompous men huddled to hum,
"Are you GO? Yes, we are GO!"
"The rockets will roar and belch
Fire and smoke. Let us GO!"

While the little white boy and
The little black girl huddled alone
In a trailer outside with no seat
Among the pompous bureaucrats.

She said to him, "I am afraid;
What can we do? Who will listen?"
"Blessing and cursing belong to God.
He will decide," said the little white boy.

And what dreadful fate of fire and smoke
When NASA faced Nature's cold
Defied its God and said, "We are GO!"
When pompous men stood so bold.

The Challenger rose in the morning cold
As ice cycles covered the launch pad,
And it blew into a thousand pieces
And the sea swallowed up its crew.

The laughing gulls sat squawking
Until the last body was exhumed from
The dreadful deep and left to sleep
In Nature's quiet grave in earth.

Now ten years later the white boy
Is old and gray, and the black girl
Is gone away; but Nature still speaks
For those who listen to its voice.

The Space Safety Committee has
Just reported to the White House
That all is safe and NASA's pope
Has risen to sing, "We are GO!"

But the sea belched forth as Jonah
Upon the dry land on Cocoa Beach
The chunk of Challenger debris -
"Left Inboard Elevon - LIE!"

Larry Wood, December 19, 1996


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