By Heather McKeown

When he orbited the Earth
I was only ten years old
He gave outer space its birth
Well, that’s what I was told

I’ve always said, I, too,
wish to be an astronaut
to fly past the sky of blue
until my ship is but a dot

Then I could shoot my gaze
to this planet we inhabit
and if I see a star
I might almost reach and grab it

Did John Glenn know that I,
a child in Montreal,
looked up each starlit night
cuz’ the heavens always called?

And I heard the empty silence
in my mind, I did, back then
and thought of Man’s defiance
and the bravery of Glenn

Yes, he defied Newton’s Law
as he left this atmosphere
and I wondered what he saw
and if, at lift off, he felt fear

I am still quite besotted
by the sky and all beyond it
a ticket up? Wish I’d bought it
space attire? I’d have donned it

He went again at 78
and I again looked up
he was young, at this late date
a humble, brilliant pup

Now, I see he’s not too well
in fact, at ninety-five
he’s in a big old hospital
and, I hear, he’s still alive

And if his time is ’bout to end
at least, here on Earth
others, in another realm,
will respect this man’s great worth

In fact, as I looked up back then
in nineteen and sixty-two
other beings met John Glenn
with a welcoming, “How do!”

I think him other worldly
ethereal and bright
though he’s never thought of me
as I’m down here out of sight

But such men and beings
of flesh and bone or ether
know there’s no real need for seeing
or touch or hearing either

So, when John Glenn passes on
he won’t go somewhere unknown
from this planet, he’ll be gone
but he’ll just be going home