Thursday, 25 June 2015

Blue Sky Thinking

This week my lawn mower broke down.  It seems like an insignificant detail but for me it meant respite:  at least for one day.  It was the first time this year that I could actually sit in my garden without working.  I put the sun-lounger in the middle of a daisy-filled, foot high, meadow that has replaced the lawn and having satisfied myself that there were no wild animals hiding in the undergrowth, I put on shorts and sunglasses, to relax while the washing dried.

I looked at the sky.  I love looking at the sky.  I didn’t look at it for long because I drifted off to sleep
but later I decided to research the sky.  Something was at the back of my mind. Something I had seen in a television series presented by Professor Brian Cox.  Fortunately, I had bought the book from the series, Wonders Of The Solar System and after a short time reading I opened my notebook and began to form a poem.
As part of the series, Professor Cox went up in a Lightning jet fighter to the edge of our atmosphere, to experience for himself and to show his audience a phenomenon that few human beings will ever see. The English Electric Lightning is a 1950’s supersonic plane that was used by the RAF as an interceptor with another characteristic, previously a military secret: It can also fly far higher than it designated operating height of 18,000 metres, (66,000 feet). On a NATO exercise in 1984, an RAF pilot attempted to fly it at 27,000 metres (88,000 feet), to test its ability to intercept the U2 spy plane. The Lightning surpassed expectations reaching a height that took the pilot above 99 per cent of the earth’s atmosphere.
During his own experience at the same altitude, Professor Cox announces:
“I’m seeing the land, the air and the beginnings of the vacuum of infinite space in a single field of view and the word to describe it is ‘fragile’.’’
I hope that if you haven’t seen the series that you will take a look at the link , or get hold a copy of the book.  As a child, I was fascinated by flight and wanted to know everything there was to know about ‘all that nothing that can never end, ’ in particular what held it all up there. Scientists are still struggling with the same question, so I can take solace form that.  I found the series truly mesmerising and have to thank the Professor for inspiring my poem.
The Thin Blue Line
Up there.
Way up there,
beyond the nimbus and the stratus,
almost as far as your imagination dares to climb,
at the edges of existence,
enveloping our atmosphere,
holding life together,
sits the thin blue line.
Unless you dare to leave the gravity that holds you.
Unless you fly so high, you almost venture into space.
Unless you go beyond the oxygen and nitrogen that breathe you,
you may never see the smile that curves around our earthly mother’s face.
We live our lives beneath it,
it holds the warmth inside it,
protects us from the solar scorch
and violent cosmic winds.
Fragile and invisible,
it grows the green that feeds us,
it waters all of Eden,
it provides a promised land.
We cannot feel or touch it
but if we don’t respect it,
then our children’s, children’s, children
may not share your world and mine.
We push it to the limit,
stress it out with greed and industry
and like any other living thing,
one day,  it may flat-line.
Look up from your hand-set,
switch off your computer,
go into the open 
and gaze up to the sky.
Wonder at its wonder,
it vastness and simplicity,
take time to simply sit
and watch the clouds roll by.
This is our home,
our planet earth,
filled with beauty and diversity.
We are fortunate to live beneath the thin blue line.
Adele V Robinson.


Steve Rowland said...

Fabulous poem, Adele. I love some of your imagery. A fascinating blog. Thank you.