A group of writers in Chichester coming together once a month for inspiration, collaboration and sensation

Farewell, Neil Armstrong

‘Neil Armstrong has passed away’, or so they’d said
– Almost an afterthought, it seemed: a thing of passing mention
Should we be grateful then, for their condescension?
Or refuse to believe, never having been there, that he’s really dead?

It was an age away, like their long journey, yet so clear in mind
That I remember, as a boy, history’s great event
Despite my mum’s concern, so off to bed she’d sent
My body. And yet I still bore witness, in spirit, if not in kind

What was it really like, for him, to tread that step, alone?
Actually to be there, upon another world, so pristine and so pure.
To be the very first to lay a kiss upon its marvellous allure.
And then, to return, to survive, and for those words, atone.

He was, in truth, the bravest of men, and the most modest, too
He had the right stuff in spades; without doubt the steady sort,
To land a starving Eagle on a lump of cheese, or so we once thought,
Until his like showed us what it really was, in its more marvellous hue.

More precious than a dragon’s tooth, rarer than eclipse
That giant leap should have led us to a sweeter life
If only blind fools had tried to put an end to strife
And follow brave Apollo with much bigger, better ships

So now, departing Earth, for this, the one last time
To journey far beyond the moon, and never to return
Perhaps, he’s flying now, through stars, attempting to discern
Much stranger truths that dance forever, to another rhyme.

Farewell, Neil Armstrong. I wish I’d shook your hand
And as you leave, you take a piece of me, from kinder days
We’ll think of you from time to time, as we look up and gaze
Upon the smiling moon, as from this lovely Earth, we stand.


About Peronius

An ape, clinging to a ball of rock, lost in a void, trying to smile.

5 comments on “Farewell, Neil Armstrong

  1. mauledbypuma
    August 27, 2012

    Did you use a particular poetic structure?

    • Peronius
      August 27, 2012

      I wanted to make the rhyming less obvious, to break the symmetry a bit, by slightly extending the line lengths, here and there. However, in each verse, lines 1 and 4 and lines 2 and 3 are intended to rhyme, which I think is a bit less obvious than rhyming consecutive lines (e.g 1 and 2, and then 3 and 4). I think I’ve been influenced slightly by some of Scott’s recent work, which rhymes, but only just. I quite like that. I think some of my other verse has been a bit too ‘symmetrical’ if you know what I mean. Do you think it works better this way, or not as well?

  2. mauledbypuma
    August 27, 2012

    Well I too have experimenting with poetic structure as well. Me and Scott were chatting after the meeting about the Sonnet structure which I have briefly looked at and considered. However, there’s one structure I discovered called a villanelle ( that I’m interested in. I’ve written two Villanelles at the moment so I’ll post them sometime next week but it’s another structure I would like the use in the future.

    The ABBA does make a change from the usual ABAB structure. I mean ABAB is good for establishing a kind of “bouncing” rhythm whereas the ABBA kind of ties the 2nd and 3rd lines together (BB) and then the last line (A) breaks that rhyme structure, which puts an emphasis on the final line, sort of like a conclusion to the verse.

    In regards to symmetry do you mean line after line? As in A is symmetrical to B and so on? Where you trying to make each paragraph symmetrical as in ABBA? Did any particular poem inspire you to use this structure?

    Do you get what I mean? It’s a bit hard to convey in a comment!

    • Peronius
      August 27, 2012

      Sounds interesting. I look forward to your Villanelles and would be interested to try one out, when I see how you’ve done it. You certainly know more than I do about this subject. I tend to just work intuitively, at present, but would like to understand more about these different verse structures. By ‘breaking the symmetry’ I just meant moving away from perfect metre and rhyme, to make it read more like prose, while retaining some of the verse, if that makes sense? I think this has the benefit of adding complexity, which helps makes it more ambiguous, an important characteristic of artwork, I believe, whether verbal, visual or musical, etc, since it allows the reader to contribute something to the experience, from their own imagination, IMHO. Having said that, I don’t think the above really goes that far with it. I just wanted to make the work less like jingle-bells and more respectful to the subject-matter, in this case.

  3. mauledbypuma
    August 27, 2012

    Ok I understand! Yeah I’m a bit of particular about structure at the moment. Probably a hang over from I first started writing poetry years ago. Back then, I kind of did it like you said intuitively ie some structure/rhyme scheme but not to the point of being pedantic or specific. I’ll make a comment on my villanelles when I upload them e.g. what inspired me to use it and the structure etc. But I like the challenge of using a structure to write a poem. Maybe in time with experience and confidence I could just write in free form. I’m not an expert in poetic form; I just read a poem and if I like it I maybe do a bit of research into it which may result in learning about a certain structure/form.

    I totally agree that this structure is apt for the subject. I mean the ABAB structure, in my opinion, is kind of light hearted and bouncy and maybe not appropriate for a meditation on the death of Neil Armstrong and your relationship to it.

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2012 by in Poetry.
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