The Cell

The rain pours
and the Earth absorbs
it all – or sends it to the sea.
There must be at all times
the same amount of water
or vapour or ice
with no increase or decrease,
otherwise there would be, in time,
either no land or no sea,
which means, on average,
an exact amount of water,
with minor variations
unless rocks from space bring more.
This is called self-regulation,
the life of the Earth itself,
a blue cell spinning
in a solution of heat and light.
Something is switched on.
Something changes to stay the same.
Something has learned
to read and to write,
to count, to calculate and to think,
and, finally, to know itself,
to feel the rain.

Apollo 14

The burning stopped and we were clear.
The Moon was smiling. We smiled in return.
I saw my nation: an object strangely shaped
– not like the perfect curve that touched my mind
and centred all my thoughts on all mankind.




  • Dedicated to the memory of Edgar Mitchell