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

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TS might not be Frost or Eliot but combined with Nix they made music. Perhaps another colab?...

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 10 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Never getting to walk on the moon is fine with me, man.
I was 15 in 1968, and all I thought about was the next Beatles album; when is it coming out, and how can I manage to get a copy? Turned out it was released--can't remember--on or near Thanksgiving. I swiped a copy from a department store(W>T> GRANT'S, now out of business, probably too many folks stealing records) and about wore it out!
The moon landing caused no great stir in my house, but at school the next day, I do remember a lot of kids talking about it.
See, my parents were Jehovah's Witnesses, and they sort of downplayed "man's great achievments', whatever the latest one happened to be. My mom had banned the Beatles from our house since John's Jesus comment in 1966, so I smuggled all that stuff to my Grandmum's place n Woodville, Massachusetts, where my dad took us every weekend.
I was taken out of school at 16; the world was about to end, after all (the target date for this catastrophe was 1975, so no need for higher education!All of this made me pretty uncaring as far as walking on the moon was concerned.
Sometimes, though, I wonder what it would be like to be a person like you, who was so excited about it all. Must've been nice, I guess.
After the WHITE ALBUM, my thoughts (as a dyed in the wool hippie), turned towards the Vietnam war, and I took up that cause until the end of all that,also in (that mystical, magical year) 1975. Still no real thoughts about the so-called 'space race'. It was all like something that was going on behind the scenes, to me.
You did write about it beautifully, though, and I can appreciate that!

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

I'll check for it, Tate.

4 Years Ago

Couldn't find it! I did choose something else, though. I ended up being very impressed with "STREETS.. read more
Tate Morgan

4 Years Ago

Well thank you I’ll try to find the one I wrote for her
Enjoyed this very much. :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

I remember this very well... I was a bit older than you...a young girl in her teens. I had been an avid scifi buff all my life, and I was so excited, I thought I'd explode with it. This, I thought...this is the beginning. Soon, we will have colonies on Mars...we will be mining Jupiter!! Who knows...I may live to see mankind travel to the stars!! This is the beginning of Mankind's triumph!!

But it was not to be. Here it is, nearly fifty years later, and I don't even have a flying car!
We made it to the moon, as you say, with little more than a slide rule...yet, with all the advances there have been in technology since...we can't seem to get any further...

The much vaunted Brotherhood of Man was nothing more than an empty promise which has never been fulfilled. The rich still toss in their fine beds, trying to figure out how to extort even more money from the poor, while the children of the poor shiver in the cold, and cry for something to eat. We are still dealing with racism. There is still no real equality for women. Love has become a dirty word, and marriage is nothing more than a sham. Child abuse is more common than ever, and more women are having abortions every year...

Yes, it was a very exciting afternoon...
But now what??

Posted 9 Years Ago


9 Years Ago

We won the space race...but so what? There is no way we can keep our status in the world, if we do .. read more
Tate Morgan

9 Years Ago

Agreed We need a president willing to place space exploration where it belongs in our minds

4 Years Ago

SPACE FORCE was a group in some cartoon show my kids used to watch back in the 80s. Sounds about rig.. read more
I must be the only person on the planet who didn't watch it, Tate. It had been so much on the news, I felt saturated by it, and walked out of the room when it came on, and did something else. Not that I didn't see it as a great achievement, but it just didn't interest me at the time. (I've always been a little perverse!)

Posted 9 Years Ago

Tate Morgan

9 Years Ago

LOL you crack me up . Don't tell me you were old and jaded before your time lol. It was a monumental.. read more
David Lewis Paget

9 Years Ago

I think I was pissed off with America at the time, Tate. I was in the Australian Air Force, and I th.. read more
Tate Morgan

9 Years Ago

You got that right if we had just went all in in the beginning and overwhelmed them we let them have.. read more
Not Sure where to begin with this. I was too young to actually see the moon landing itself, missing it by a few years, but dreams of space, space technology, exploration etc. have lit my imagination since a very young age. Point in fact my first published story was a Science-Fiction Space Opera that spanned from Earth to the red giant of Aldebaron--not very great an area on a cosmic scale, but a 68 light years vast uncharted abyss of space in the eyes of a young writer. Alien moons and rocket ships were two of the primary symbols that connected that story together, symbolizing the vast loneliness of space that the astronauts bravely dared to enter, explore and live in on a daily basis.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Tate Morgan

9 Years Ago

Thank you I took my daughter to space camp in Georgia she was amazed at the size of the Saturn 5 But.. read more
Very moving piece to commemorate the idea of not just landing on the moon, but a uniting of humanity in awe.

Posted 10 Years Ago

beautifully captivated time peice, very expressive with great use of imagary, thank-you for sharing a most enjoyable peice of history! :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

my parents have a picture of the lunar landing that is in my opinion "iconic" it was taken with the Polaroid - a snapshot of the black and white TV - I think my mom had those glass grape clusters atop the TV and you can see the wood paneled wall. I was what...four?
Loved this walk back through time....

Posted 10 Years Ago

This gave me chills, the good kind lol. It's a bit before my time but my parents used to talk about that day. Reading this reminds me of my brother as a boy wanting to watch the televised launching of rockets, satelites and spaceships dreaming of being an astronaut. All hope and promise, all of the innocence before he had to grow up. Loved it. :) Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Very well written here. I missed that time. I was not here on the earth yet. I can imagine what a awesome time it was in a child's mind as a an adult. History in the making is always very cool.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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65 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


Tate Morgan
Tate Morgan

Marion , OH

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