Poetry Friday: July 20, 1969

When school ended in June, I had a difficult time getting back into a writing routine. I searched through some of my favorite resources looking for an idea that would jump start my writing. This prompt, from Laurel Snyder in The Creativity Projectedited by Colby Sharp, appealed to me:

“You can create anything you want, anything at all! The only catch is that you need to mention:

  1. A type of fruit
  2. An animal
  3. Something musical
  4. Some sort of machine
  5. A historical figure

Now, go crazy, but be sure to include them all.”

Here is what I created:

July 20, 1969

She sat in front of the TV
cross-legged on the living room rug
still wearing her shorts covered
in drips from watermelon
she’d eaten at the neighbor’s picnic
celebrating Apollo 11’s moon landing.

It was long past her bedtime.
Everyone had gone home to watch
this historic event in their own living rooms,
on their own TVs.

Suddenly, Neil Armstrong’s voice
crackled across a quarter million miles of space.
She was so nervous it was hard to sit still.
She hugged her cat close.

A ghostly image appeared on the screen.
There he was!
Coming down the ladder as easily
as if he were climbing out of her fort
in the maple tree out back.

She cheered, startling Luna,
who was named for the moon
because of her smoky gray fur.
She began to sing a song
she’d heard at the picnic,
“Good morning, starshine,”
hoping her voice would calm the cat.

But then she laughed out loud.
Maybe by now it was morning,
and a star was shining
and it was so bright she could see
men walking on the moon.

© Catherine Flynn, 2019

“That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong

Please be sure to visit Carol at Carol’s Corner for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: July 20, 1969

  1. Oh, wow. LOVE this. The voice is so strong. Did this poem surprise you? Which part of the prompt did you begin with? (Always hungry for backstory and process notes…).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’d been thinking about how to write my moon-landing memories for a while. I had the image of sitting on the rug (true), and the prompt made it easy to fill in the rest.


  2. Love that you wrote to the prompt & connected it to this very special time, the moon landing, & managed all those ingredients with strong memories, whether created or real. Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I so love this poem….the voice is unique and authentic and marks such a perfect moment in time. Well done, Catherine. You make me want to try out this prompt too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I first read the list of words, my mind went blank, but you wrote a beautiful poem. I love how all those random bits of inspiration came together seamlessly in your poem to share a magical memory. My parents told me often how I watched the moon landing, but I don’t remember it — I was just 1 month old.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Is this based on a personal memory, Catherine, or just a story you made up? Either way, it’s very convincing! I love all the detail. It would be interesting to read it as part of a larger anthology having to do with the Apollo moon landing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your poem is full of so much authenticity, I feel like I could be sitting there in your living room watching this momentous event with you! I remember watching it on tv in my living room with my father, so I guess there were a lot of us connected around the world as we “listened to Neil Armstrong’s voice” and watched “A ghostly image appeared on the screen.”

    Liked by 1 person

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