Yes, I can describe what happened
as our tiny Moon, audacious,
crept across the scorching springtime Sun,
stealing the light from the Earth,
cooling the air and casting steel-sharp shadows.
Yes, I can tell you I saw planets –
Mercury and Venus tenderly suspended there –
strung across an eerie, sunset Turkish sky:
dusk at lunchtime,
on the Third Rock from the Sun.
You want to know about totality?
Let me tell you about a sparkling diamond ring,
too beautiful to comprehend -
cheers and applause from an appreciative audience -
and too-soon disappeared for good.
And let me tell you about the phantom Moon,
visible in its dark invisibility,
powerful and awesome, disc on disc,
void over blinding fire, setting a feathery corona free,
to reach out, exquisitely
as my yearning does, to turn the clock back,
and inhabit that rare moment, just once more.
You ask me how it felt? Then you ask me
how it feels to be human, to be humbled and bewitched,
looking upward, looking outward, looking in.
In 2006, I was lucky enough to travel to Turkey for the day, to witness a total eclipse of the sun. It was an awe-inspiring experience, exhilarating and quite emotional. In fact, I don’t think it’s too much to describe it as life-changing – it certainly changed my perspective a little. Since then, I’ve been trying to put the experience into words. I suspect that could be the work of a lifetime, but this poem is where I’m at so far!