Though I speak with the tongues of Kubrick and Spielberg, and have not First Man, I am become as Red Planet or Mission to Mars.

And though I have the gift of Roddenberry, and understand Interstellar and Europa Report, so that I could span gulfs, and have not First Man, I am missing out.

First Man suffers long, and is kind; First Man envies not; First Man vaunts not its goddess, is not puffed up,

Does not behave itself unseemly, understandably seeks its own, is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil;

Rejoices not in hiding figures, but rejoices in shining light;

Bears many things, believes many things, hopes many things, endures many things.

First Man never fails beyond redemption.

For we know in part, and we worship the past in part.

But if that which is perfect should come, then that which is made great again in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a grown-up, I put away many childish things.

For now we see through smart devices frantically; but then face to face: now we know in part; but then shall we know even as also we are known.

And now abide The Right Stuff, Apollo 13, The Martian, and First Man, these four; but the greatest of these is First Man.

Poet’s Notes:

This sci-fi re-imagining of 1 Corinthians 13 reworks a piece I posted to my personal blog after seeing First Man. Directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, First Man follows Neil Armstrong’s journey from grieving father to first human to set foot on the moon. For various reasons, some understandable, some asinine, the movie failed to achieve commercial success and was largely dismissed by the high profile awards shows. Nevertheless, I cherish it as one of the most thoughtful and sober treatments of Apollo-era space exploration.

The featured image is me visiting Kennedy Space Center in February of this year. The rockets on display are the Atlas-Agena and the Titan II. Versions of these were used in the Gemini 8 mission, flown by Neil Armstrong and David Scott and depicted in First Man.