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Voyage to the Moon

(The following poem was broadcast on CBS television on Thursday, July 24, 1969 as part of a wrap-up of coverage of the Apollo 11 flight.) Presence among us,

wanderer in our skies,

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dazzle of silver in our leaves and on our waters silver,

O silver evasion in our farthest thought - ``the visiting moon'' ... ``the glimpses of the moon'' ...

and we have touched you!

From the first of time, before the first of time, before the first men tasted time, we thought of you. You were a wonder to us, unattainable, a longing past the reach of longing, a light beyond our light, our lives - perhaps a meaning to us ...

Now our hands have touched you in your depth of night.

Three days and three nights we journeyed,

steered by farthest stars, climbed outward, crossed the invisible tide-rip where the floating dust falls one way or the other in the void between, followed that other down, encountered cold, faced death - unfathomable emptiness ...

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Then, the fourth day evening, we descended, made fast, set foot at dawn upon your beaches, sifted between our fingers your cold sand.

We stand here in the dusk, the cold, the silence ...

and here, as at the first of time, we lift our heads. Over us, more beautiful than the moon, a moon, a wonder to us, unattainable, a longing past the reach of longing, a light beyond our light, our lives - perhaps a meaning to us ...

O, a meaning!

over us on these silent beaches the bright earth,

presence among us Poem from the book ``New and Collected Poems 1917-1982 by Archibald MacLeish, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. Copyright 1985 by the estate of Archibald MacLeish. Reprinted by permission.