Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury!
Sorry you’re gone from this Earth. Like an interstellar traveler, seeding our immortality throughout the galaxies via endless exploration, you shall live forever in your words.
Check out some of Bradbury’s poems at Brain Pickings, including this tidbit from “That Is Our Eden’s Spring, Once Promised”:
What I to apeman
And what then he to me?
I an apeman one day soon will seem to be
To those who, after us, look back from Mars
And they, in turn, mere beasts will seem
To those who reach the stars;
So apemen all, in cave, in frail tract-house,
On Moon, Red Planet, or some other place;
Yet similar dream, same heart, same soul,
Same blood, same face,
Rare beastmen all who move to save and place their pyres
From cavern mouth to world to interstellar fires.
We want to love life, to be excited by the challenge, to live at the top of our enthusiasm. The process enables us to gather more information. Darwin was the kind of romantic who could stand in the middle of a meadow like a statue for eight hours on end and let the bees buzz in and out of his ear. A fantastic statue standing there in the middle of nature, and all the foxes wandering by and wondering what the hell he was doing there, and they sort of looked at each other and examined the wisdom in each other’s eyes. But this is a romantic man — when you think of any scientist in history, he was a romancer of reality.
In November 1971, we were locked in yet another space race, albeit a quieter one. Americans had already begun to grow bored with the Apollo program, as the final two missions were to be launched in 1972, those primarily being very expensive geology expeditions.
Then Mariner 9 was launched. We were in a race with the USSR to put a spacecraft in orbit around another planet. In November of 1971, we did it. I’m not sure that Americans were by any means excited about it, but they should have been. Just as we must stay excited about our progress yet to come.
Ray Bradbury joined Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan and others at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena to commemorate the mission’s success. Here he reads his poem “If Only We Had Taller Been”, an ode to exploration, and a fitting tribute to his legacy as a writer and dreamer. In full above (with a captivated Sagan included) and excerpted below:
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measure out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.
Short man. Large dream. I send my rockets forth
between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!
(via Boing Boing)
Source: Boing Boing
Some great words from the iconic author, on how literature is a necessary escape for the human mind, to keep us from coming apart:
“No matter what your profession in this world, you’re grabbing onto a piece of reality and interpreting it, and helping yourself and others to make do.”
“We are the tension collecting animals of the world … every other animal acts in the instant to destroy, or run from destruction … we build walls, we build cities, and so inside these cities, inside these walls we need artists.”
On harnessing what’s already inside you to feed your creativity, instead of forcing it:
“You didn’t even know the story was in you, but you go with it.”
Ray Bradbury’s 1951 short story “The Rocket Man”, which will make you yearn to explore space even 61 years later.