The Earth

Earth As Taken by Apollo 17

The Earth As Seen From Apollo 17

Clouds weave quick patterns like silken white lace;
No borders are drawn on lands seen from space.
Such beautiful seas, and bounteous lands;
The oceans, the rivers, the snows and sands;
I have searched the universe high and low
Yet cannot detect such a well made show.
It’s hard to define Earth’s magnificent life:
The glory, happiness, sorrow and strife.
It’s pitify man does not fully know
The glory of life: to produce and grow.
Earth’s life’s a marvel, I clearly can see.
I daren’t imagine how no life would be.
Out in the heavens I see my Earth fly
Like a blue-snowy crystal, on black-velvet sky.


This is the first Sonnet I ever wrote, back in 1972. It is not even a Shakespearean Sonnet. I wrote it while Apollo 17 was returning from the moon to Earth. Jack Schmidt said that he had wished he were a poet so he could write about how beautiful the Earth is. I wrote this sonnet and sent it to him. He must have really liked it because he sent me back a letter thanking me for the poem. Also, 20 years later, I wrote to him again and reminded him that I was the one who sent that poem, and he seemed to remember the poem.

Most of you know the picture above. But some probably don’t know that this is the first full picture of the Earth taken by man. I was lucky enough to meet Gene Cernan in Seattle, back in 2000. I asked him who took the picture, and he said he didn’t know. He said they had one camera, and they all took pictures whenever they saw fit. No one knows exactly who snapped that picture. That’s why, whenever you see the picture, it is credited to the entire crew of Apollo 17.

Here’s a great picture of the crew . The magnificent Saturn V rocket is in the background, and the Lunar Rover is in the foreground. Amazing engineering for the sixties. It’s the technology that got us where we are today.

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Gooseberry Garden

Poetry Picnic Week 14: What I’m Thankful for in My Life

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About zongrik

For those of you who do not know the handle "zongrik," that would be Bat-Ami Gordin. Most people call me "Tammy." Bat-Ami means "daughter of my nation" in Hebrew. It's a heavy name to carry around. I answer to either name. I also answer to "mama." Some Basic Things about me: Animal lover, mom, poet/writer, dramatic soprano, photographer, teacher/tutor, CERT/Technician and, oh yeah, aerospace engineer. I consider myself "The Astro-Poet." To learn more about the origins of the word "zongrik" see whats-a-zongrik?

Posted on April 27, 2011, in Poetry, Sonnets, The Gooseberry Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. I was really impress by all the poetry

  2. you wrote this before i was born…which impresses me all the more…fascinating as usual…love your space poems…

  3. I am constantly amazed at how much has happened in the past 40 years. Majestic dreams, thank you for the reminder.

  4. wow, amazing sonnet! captures earth’s everlasting beauty

  5. i so would love to see the earth from outer space…great poem…and so cool you sent it to him and even got a letter back….really cool tammy

  6. This is great and I love the story that goes along with it. I met the astronauts of Apollo 12 when I was a child, one of them gave me a pin of Apollo 12. I will never forget that. I wrote a poem about it but I have not published it. Your poem is beautiful, thank you.

  7. I remember the Apollo program so well…. Laid on the living room carpet and watched Neil Armstrong step off the ladder as a 10 year old…. great memories, beautiful sonnet… The photo didn’t show up on my browser but I think I might be having some problems… I’m not sure..

  8. Beautiful poem.. I find it a challenge to capture and write about the beauty of our galaxy but you write about them so well. Love these lines:

    I daren’t imagine how no life would be.
    Out in the heavens I see my Earth fly
    Like a blue-snowy crystal, on black-velvet sky.

    I think it is cool to share these poems from long ago.. their beauty never fades ~

  9. That was an amazing back story, the poem was both descriptive of the scene and well well written.

  10. You certainly have a way of making science poetic. Love this part,

    “Out in the heavens I see my Earth fly
    Like a blue-snowy crystal, on black-velvet sky.”

  11. When humans could see there home from a distance it changed them. Thanks for reminding us how beautiful our home truly is. Your first and last lines are my favorites.

  12. Wow, this was written when my dad was 9…An inspiring piece. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be around during the height of the space program. It was an amazing and progressive era. Everything was changing back then. And this was such a big part of it. Thanks for writing such a great piece on it when it happened! Now I can at least enjoy the feelings it conveyed to someone who was there.

    – Nick

  13. This is very amazing poem. I can remember the first moon walk and sitting with the little Grandma across the street from our home watching this on her TV with her. She was amazing and talked of a full life seeing the horse draw buggies and going to the first cars and now a man on the moon amazing write and such a great poem.

  14. Thanks for your poem. I have often wondered if the space program was abandoned not for money reasons, but because we were beginning to get a perspective that did not prop up petty nations. And on the International Space Station we were even beginning to share the adventure with others who once were our sworn enemies. From space, not nations — just one planet. Imagine!

    • We don’t have a space program because we are in a decline of civilized society. The population is so out of control and we are having to support people who bring society down, and do not add to it at all, except to add more people who drain society. When we can control our population increase, and education is more important than ignorance, maybe we can rise again. Look at the schools. Look how many kids don’t study or get good grades simply because it’s not cool. Look how being a sports hero is more important than being a scholar. We are not going anywhere with all these attitudes.

  15. Your first attempt! And a lovely tribute to our plant. Write on!

  16. Wow– this was the first sonnet you ever wrote? So neat to know the backstory. Lovely imagery, and especially that last line.

  17. I remember this quote and this time in history. As a youngster you captured a mood that we don’t hear that much in this way anymore. Very cool.

  18. “like a blue snowy crystal on black velvet sky” Oh, how pristine she appears! What a lovely write. Thank you!

  19. oh wow – this is awesome and such a beautiful depiction of our lovely home.

  20. very fantastic imagery,

    Thanks for taking us to outer space, you rock.


  21. Apollo all our dreams at work,great poem,Tammy and such a cool picture too.

  22. and I thought I would never see the stars up close! You sure know how to wisp a gal away! Your sonnets are so clever and unique! I am such a fan!!!! xoxox

    my offering:

  23. Well imagery.
    Thanks for visited.

  24. I love your poem and love the very cool story that made that photo even more personal for you. I’ll never forget those early years of the space program and growing up in Florida and close to the Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, back in the day) made it even more unforgettable.

    No borders…we need to remember that.

  25. Wow Zongrik, what a nice picture of Mother Earth. The poem makes it even stronger. Love to read it. Thank for visiting my site and for your nice comment.


  26. i really like the story that goes with the poem. Thoroughly fascinating.

  27. this is a gorgeous sonnet- appropriate for that epic time

  28. A lovely little poem – filled with youthful elan – and hope! I am so glad you took the time to explain the circumstances in which you wrote this poem. How old were you when you wrote it? I love the anecdote about our astronauts, too. The space program has always been fascinating to me, and it breaks my heart that we are closing down our manned space flight programs.

    Thanks so much for sharing this poem and story!

  29. Excellent!!! I loved the last line, what a beautiful description 🙂 Blessings, Terri

  30. You ‘done’ good 🙂

  31. Wow, that was purely a wonderful poem about this earth. Thank you

  32. there is something beautiful about earth. The place that is our survival. I love the pic and the piece thank you.

  33. Wow! What a spectacular poem … truly! I am very appreciative of the sport that accompanied the poem. Very special, you really moved me.

  34. Lovely piece.
    It all looks so beautiful from space. I just wish we weren’t so skilled at messing it all up on the planet. Fabulous picture.

  35. Enjoyed this thoroughly. I remember the time well, particularly when they played ‘fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars’ from space.
    Great picture and poem.

  36. Time and time again we take advantage of the marvel of our planet, and this expression is 40 years old. We must learn to understand more of our environment. Beautifully written

  37. thoughtsnotlost

    Amazing read, inspiring!

  1. Pingback: encore presentation: 2012 featured poets ~ zongrik | my heart's love songs

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