The Night The World Stood Still

The Night The World Stood Still

A Poem by Tate Morgan

I was a boy then nine years old the Moon seemed exciting and cool As each of the rockets took off we would get to watch them in school



We received the news late one night

there was to be a special show

A broadcast from the Moon to the Earth

of what we had no way to know


I was a boy then nine years old

the Moon seemed exciting and cool

As each of the rockets took off

we would get to watch them in school


This time something was different

it was on Christmas eve that year

The pictures sent back from the moon

made it seem as if it were near


The commander then addressed us

showing pictures he called Earthrise

He began reading from Genesis

my mother wiped tears from her eyes


The viewers numbered in billions

for the first time we were all free

To hope and dream of a future

and the wonders of what may be


The whole of the Earth held their breath

for that moment in history

When we learned how it felt to say

every soul on Earth was like me


That was man's greatest achievement

not the landing upon the Moon

Planting the seeds of brotherhood

in fertile soil where they might bloom


That night the heavens echoed out

a cry that felt more like a plea

That shook the core of modern man

all the way to Antiquity

© 2017 Tate Morgan

Author's Note

Tate Morgan
I remember that night as if it were yesterday. It was Christmas eve 1968. The missions to the Moon which originally were an attempt to beat the Russians. Turned out to be more than the sum of their parts. It was a great time to be an American. But on that night there were no nationalities. As we looked back upon that little blue marble in the vastness of space. I realized everyone who ever lived came from there. from Adam to Da vinci. The largest crowd in history watched in awe that night as Apollo 8 rounded the Moon. Then without a script the crew decided that they would read from Genesis. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. Then from the mission commander came " From the crew of Apollo 8. We wish you all a Merry Christmas all of you on the good Earth." I had never seen an adult cry as my mother did. And on TV the members of Mission command were all in tears as well. As each and every one realized the enormity of what they were doing. Martin Luther King, Bobbie Kennedy and John F Kennedy had all been assassinated in that decade. The world seemed poised to tear itself apart. But for that brief moment something grander in the human spirit shook the world. It brought us back from the brink. It is hard to imagine now but they did all this with little more than a slide rule. I remember my great great grandmother who had been born in 1878 and was then 90 yrs old watching in absolute astonishment. As a boy at the time I remember we all studied math and science. We knew that was essential to passing the grade as an astronaut. To us the old idea of wanting to be a fireman or policeman was now for slackers. We wanted to be hero's. We watched fearless men who knew they were atop the worlds largest Roman Candle. Any one of which could in an instant become the tragic Titanic of the age. Most astronauts seemed not to fear anything or anyone. To a boy of nine they were the personification of the pioneering men who won the west. They lit the fuses of those candles and rose into the heavens. Taking the hopes and dreams of this little boy, all of his friends and the rest of humanity along with them for the ride. I have to admit the Americans know how to put on a show. Who else would take a four wheel drive golf cart to the moon to play golf?
This was mans finest hour! I was watching the history channel the other day. A World War two veteran and holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor was speaking about his latest talk to a high school. He said he was introduced by a high-school senior as being a veteran of World War Eleven. If this is the case we will never walk on the moon again in our lifetimes.

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My mother used to tell me stories growing up of all the wild achievements we made while she was growing up because I had such interest in the moon and the universe. Her words of this day in particular was "the world stood still when we finally made it to the moon, everyone around the world stopped what they were doing to watch a television." Amazing how one moment in time finally brought the world together for one momentous occasion even if it was just one night. Awesome poem. Nicely done, Tate!

~Anna Rose

Posted 6 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.



Posted 6 Years Ago

I was eleven when they launched Columbia. It had really captured my imagination and caught me a detention as all I did was to look at the replay on the T.V. in the school library and decided I need not go back to class.

Tate, I really enjoyed your poem, very refined and well-formed. Thank you for the entry and capturing that incredible moment in history.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Dear writer on reading the first line itself of the poem one is able to guess about the even tof Man's first landing on the moon,though not born during those times I am able to feel the feel the world must have had felt,it also shows the might of America in terms of Science and Technology.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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Well said Tate...well said.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Your memories of that moment in time and the beautiful pictures you added were a delight to read. I was a child of ten at that time. You captured a "time," an era, a sentiment that brought back many fond memories of those times. For a young Navajo girl raised in a hogan without television, and at that time it had only been one year since leaving my homeland.....that was a magical time. To have been a child at that time period was a gift.
Fabulous writing-Tate great job!!!!

Posted 6 Years Ago

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This was awesome Tate, love the last stanza.
I agree so much with that last stanza...that achievement was great and freely a days hard to find or come by....seen less and less.
Wonderful poem Tate

Posted 6 Years Ago

This is a great story. If only there were a way to preserve these moments.
This would be one beautiful world full of infinite hopes and dreams.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Beautiful work!

Posted 6 Years Ago

What a wonderful memory to hold close forever, an excellent poem that allowed me to visulize you at that young age with such eager eyes watching in awe!

Posted 6 Years Ago

I was on duty in the USAF that Christmas Tate, but I remember the walk, watching from home on the little B&W screen. Thanks for adding some fine Space Poetry for us to read. The Saturn 5 is man's greatest mechanical achievement and will always be the most powerful machine ever built because future extra orbital missions will launch from Space Stations. Every Saturn V ever built was used and performed flawlessly.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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64 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on February 4, 2012
Last Updated on September 18, 2017
Tags: poetry, Life, Sad, adventure, mystery, pain, poem, romance, story, death, fantasy, fiction, Dark, Gay, Hate, sex, teen, horror, heart, love

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A Poem by Tate Morgan