Harry Mann

The Discovery

Flight of Saturn V SA-511

Apollo 16, CM Callsign Orion, LM Callsign Casper

Command Pilot: John W. Young, Command Module Pilot: Thomas K. Mattingly II,

Lunar Module Pilot: Charles M. Duke Jr

16th April 1972


Saturn V sheds her heavy feathers

in the smoke, a rising asterisk of light,

the tank, pencil-slim, gimbals

twisting through the portal

between us and the airless shallows

of our immediate orbit.

The second stage too falls away

and for a split second

the pilots are blinded

by a vapour hotter than lightning

only to open their eyes

in the uninterrupted night.

It is so very still up there

mission control becomes wind

your own hands the horizon

the difference between day and night

in the humming of lights

and a sense of home

nearer than a fireproof flight plan

nearer than freeze-dried blueberries

the sound of your own heart

in the night-time

a picture in crayon

from your son

which says ‘Daddy’

with the Moon

drawn in purple

and an arrow

for guidance.


Harry Man is an award-winning poet and digital editor working in book publishing in London. 
He has worked with some of Britain’s bestselling and most highly-awarded literary authors and estates. www.manmadebooks.co.uk


Harry’s  work is featured in Elbow Room Volume Two