©Alan Jencks, 2020

I’m thinking of the birds now, 

the finches and juncos and sparrows,

calling, from tree to tree

to connect, lacing the sky. 

I’m thinking of how 

as their feathered numbers shrink, 

I listen more closely to their songs,

see them more clearly,

love them more dearly

as the hymn nine centuries old

tells us to pray. 

And I do.


I’m thinking of the air now, 

how I want to drink deeply

from this sky newly clean,

thinking how quiet the streets 

now—no more distant rumble 

of freeway roar.

And I do drink it in

and I pray.


I’m thinking of Venice, 

the canal water clear now,

so clear you can see 

in the dolomite green,

the swimming, swirling 

life- seeking schools of fish,

even as the seas are spoiled.


Thinking of Italians singing 

now from their balconies,

calling to one another

with the old loved songs,

loved even more dearly now.


And I’m thinking now of Apollo 8,

how Lovell, Borman and Anders

left earth for the moon in ’68, 

how that flight 

was a leap of faith,

but they leapt.


Thinking of how their buddy, 

Collins, calling out into the darkness

of space from Earth, 

You are a go for TLI, 

and how he wished now he’d said,

instead, You can now slip 

the surly bonds of earth 

and dance the sky.

I’m thinking the sky voyagers

must have heard his song 

in their hearts.


I’m thinking of how

Anders took that picture,

the only shot of many that worked,

now the image, universal,

 of our good earth rising.


They saw clearly,

and called back to us, 

all of us here,

on Christmas Eve,

And God called the dry land earth:

and the gathering of the waters 

called he the seas:

 and God saw that it was good.


And for a while then, we saw too.

And now we must see again,

more clearly, our home. 


©Judy Bebelaar, 2020


(Note: Collins’ words from the Nova documentary, “Apollo’s Daring Mission,” 12/26/18)

        Judy Bebelaar’s award-winning poetry has been published widely. And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown, nonfiction, has won four awards including two first prizes in different categories from Royal Dragonfly Book Awards and a first prize in the 2019 Northern California Publishers and Authors contest. Judy and co-author Ron Cabral were named SFPL Library Laureates, 2019 for the book, and it was one of five nominees for a Northern California Book Award in nonfiction.