Thursday, July 27, 2006

reading myths

I finished Joseph Campbell's "Myths..." while enjoying my morning coffee. Who knew I'd be laughing out loud? Anyway, I found his reaction to the second moon landing very amusing.

Campbell was totally disgusted at the time of the first manned flight around the moon by the reading broadcast down to us. Selected from Genesis ( "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void..."), I'd have to agree that it hardly related to what the astronauts were actually seeing! I much preferred the poetry of the Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti published in Epoca in celebration of the first moon landing. I can see the image still of that photograph of the blue and green earth rising beyond the silent lunar landscape!!
Che fai tu, Terra, in ciel?
Dimmi, che fai, Silenziosa Terra?

Is there anybody who cannot remember where they were at the time of the first lunar landing?
I was fourteen, in Rome with a church youth group on a tour of Europe. We were staying in a hostel on the outskirts of Rome. The hostel was operated by nuns. On that night, we were all in the basement cafeteria, watching television, watching the astronauts landing on the moon, watching Neil Armstrong's foot cautiously touching the dusty surface and then watching the two astronauts' bounding gait as they carried out their tasks, planted the American flag...The nuns in the black and white garb and all of us Canadians were dancing about too, hugging each other.


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