A poem by: Ben Dunk. 1976.

 

“TWO ASTRONAUTS FAILED TO RETURN TODAY

FROM A ROUTINE FLIGHT IN SPACE!”

 

Two astronauts shot into space,

cased in a capsule.

An advanced complicated cell,

developed by our race,

but no means to re-fuel.

 

Thrusting outward from worldly hemisphere,

to programmed orbit of a distant planet,

where, undreamt of creatures crawl and fly.

Enormous black flapping sheet-beasts,

with, one baleful central eye.

Flocks suddenly emerge from mists,

man for so long desired to penetrate;

producing weird eardrum splitting howling sounds,

as they around our space craft gyrate.

 

Splat!, first one, then another, and, more:

Piled like giant suicidal pancakes on

Man’s proud vehicle of space.

Destroying the aerials and contact with base;

Terribly tearing into mulch their soft bodies.

 

Awe-struck astronauts watched,

their grey slime trickle,

smearing over the portholes.

Strapped on couches, neither speaks,

listening to protesting fuselage creaks.

Too well trained to be afraid;

calm hands made,

dual controlled jerking attitudes.

Hoping to dislodge the enveloping mass of mess,

with no success.

 

“Fire the rockets!” they agreed

And did, full speed.

Out of orbit they pelted.

Outside, away the gory mess melted

And drifted off soundlessly.

Our capsule,

Fuel spent,

Dashes through space endlessly,

Opposite Earth’s tangent.