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Columbia Homecoming

by Lionel E. Deimel

STS-107 patch  

Homeward bound at last—

Thirty-nine miles high, alone.

No landing today.

  STS-107 patch


On Saturday morning, February 1, 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia, at end of a 16-day mission, was thirty-nine miles over Texas, gliding at mach 18 toward a Florida touchdown, when it disintegrated in flight, with the loss of the shuttle and its seven-member crew. The nation and the world went into mourning.

It was not until Sunday morning that I got over my own shock and began to think of writing a poem for the occasion. Although I considered working in a longer form, the brevity of haiku seemed more appropriate so close to an event that was not yet understood. In this case, the poem seems not so much to inform the reader as to elicit the reader’s own deep feelings. At least, that’s what I hope it does.

I may write more later. For now, it is perhaps enough to say to Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, William McCool, and Ilan Ramon, “Rest in peace.”

(Written 2/2/2003.)

— LED, 2/5/2003

This poem was indirectly the inspiration for “Meta-haiku.”

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