April 12th is the International Day of Human Space Flight, celebrating Yuri Gagarin becoming the first ever human to launch into space, on board Vostok-1. He made a single orbit around planet earth, in a flight lasting 108 minutes from launch to landing. Since 2001, it has also been celebrated as Yuri’s Night:
a global celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space. […] held around the world every April in commemoration of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961, and [of] the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981.
A few years ago I wrote a poem called Earthrise, which was triggered by reading about Yuri Gagarin, and the first human venturings into space. I did a lot of reading around the subject, which I highly recommend – it’s incredible and fascinating and gives me hope that humanity may eventually be able to get its shit together again.
So that is your challenge for today: write a poem about space, about astronauts or cosmonauts, about the shift from thinking that space was a dome above us with God/s out there just past the edge of it, to thinking of space more like an immense ocean that we could dive into, that we could cross – a place. How we dared to make that leap of faith.
And raise a glass to Yuri.