A Poem by Jesse Harman

I'd been reading a few ekphrastic poems, and after watching through the film Interstellar once or thirty times, I felt the need to take a crack at it. I reframed it in the style of a hero's journey.


We tread in the footsteps of a higher legacy,

Carving our names into defenseless stone, standing

Guard atop our salted pillars and cursed totems. A

Tired and aged man claims we are “driven by

The unshakable faith that this world is ours,” and

He is right.

In our wake, dust replaces water; the world is

Dry and caked in the same earth that once slept beneath

Our feet. Pulverized clay, a rich mahogany lines our Hero’s hair,

His skin bronzed from an unsetting sun and relentless filth.

Brown Earth, brown beer bottle gripped between two knuckles.

His gaze settles on the stars �" gas lamps in an endless dark,

A hope for our survival. The Hero’s truck shines

Headlights into a dust storm. Manmade fire in

Perpetual conflict with the oppressive Earth.

His love for his daughter �" his own gas lamp �"

Spurs him to ascend to those heavens,

To spearhead the fight against a nature which only wants us


He must become our light.


Do not go gentle into that good night


A space station grazes past a mammoth Saturn,

A dreidel twirling over a cosmic tabletop.

The crew thrusts forth at incredible speeds,

Held together only by a feeble trust in

Each other and the inches of steel lining the walls.

A blue planet, too blue, beckons with its siren call:

“Water, organics, sustainable life.” A blue ridge,

Teal skyline, teases at an uphill journey through crests.

But the water is too shallow.

“Those aren’t mountains,” our Hero laments.

A panicked dirge escapes his lips,

For their failed mission,

For their failed Earth.

Man down.

The remaining pioneers ride

The massive tide,

And push off this cursed rock.

“Time is a resource.” An hour in the waves

Is seven years at home.

The reunion aboard the space station

Reveals a crewmate two dozen years aged.

The trek to a cruel doppelganger,

A crude exile.


Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright


Weaving between plumes of soft white vapor,

Our Hero descends.

A crack against a wall of white proves

Even air freezes solid here. The iced clouds

Edge toward the pointed mountaintops as

The crew pushes deeper into the jagged jawline.

A decrepit homestead houses a man

Long settled into his long sleep. The Hero nurses him to life.

The man’s rosy cheer is a stark contrast to a world

Of sterile frost. Fogged breath shades his visor in

Droplets he refuses to clear.

The Hero follows the man under the glacier.

One crewmate assesses the home of the lonely awakened man.

A shove and a crack.

A discovery and a spark.

                       Man down.

A world of ammonia and ice promised hope and warmth

But yields only a Judas playing Lazarus.

The man maroons the Hero and his last partner.

He tries to ascend to his own heaven, but as

Gravity’s pull loosens, hubris replaces the weight.

“Improper lock.” “Airlock unsecure.”

Judas burns in his hellfire, a brief

New star against a backdrop of black.

Our Heroes pick up the pieces,

Witnesses of a poetic justice unwanted.

Time passes and events change, but

The story is the same.


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight


In his daughter’s ear, our Hero whispers:

“Your mother once told me that

We’re only here to be our children’s ghosts.”

A ghost is only a human once-removed �"

Either a dimension over time and space

Or a generation.

Children inherit our legacies as we breathe

In their waking world, the truest arbiters

Of their forward progressions.

Our Hero surfs along the brim of a black hole,

Gargantua �" a ghost and legacy of a brilliant star.

In a renegade sacrifice, he allows himself to fall;

His crewmate and friend unknowingly launches

Towards her own quest, a new hero for the same cause.

As he descends, the Hero witnesses a spectrum

Of unreality, “flashes of blackness,” in an already-void


He ejects from his vessel, and the feeling dark

Caresses his uninhibited frame.

The bridge forms.


Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight


A tesseract, an infinite series of blocks,

Cubes, snapshots in space-time,

All set within one room, belonging to

The Hero’s daughter. A child, broken

By his departure and fragmented by his

Absence, although still held close

By his undying love.

This bridge �" the means of communication

And eventual salvation �" exists only for our Hero.

He lives as a ghost in her bookcase,

Knocking over Apollo models,

Punching out books into Morse.

“Stay,” he pleads to himself on the other side,

His shade still dusted gold from the storms.

In his plight he realizes the weight of his wife’s words.

He is not the Hero.

He is the Voice.

He is the Guide to the True Hero.

He is his Daughter’s Ghost.

She sees this, too.

She feels his love across lightyears,

Millennia, dimensions, inches of wall.

He passes his legacy onto her through a

Token watch; she accepts his torch, his mantle.

Our hero leaves her room with answers we cannot know.

The link severs.

The man falls back into the black.



Saturn’s rings gloss across the man in the cold.

Rescuer’s lights promise, he can return home.


Do not go gentle, indeed.

© 2015 Jesse Harman

Author's Note

Jesse Harman
This is my first poem published on here, and it's still very much a work in progress. But I encourage you to rip into it as you would for any other piece. Thanks!

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Added on November 24, 2015
Last Updated on November 24, 2015
Tags: poem, poetry, ekphrastic, interstellar, ekphrasis, hero's journey, odyssey


Jesse Harman
Jesse Harman

Woodbridge, VA

On- and off-again college student, full-time musician, extra full-time a*****e. I haven't the slightest clue what I'm doing. more..