This son of soil has left the Earth
in a fiery new rebirth,
the foundryman encased in steel
has proved that spaceflight can be real.

Dear Gagarin, you then showed
there was perhaps another road
that we could take when off this planet,
if politicians didn’t ban it.

They used you for their propaganda
with disregard for your own candour –
an ordinary man
who showed what once began ..

.. as naked apes who stood upright
and wondered then about the night
and what might be up there
where stars shone in the upper air.

Sixty years ago you proved
that, when we are removed
from gravity’s routine embrace,
we still are in the human race.

It’s sad that you have died so young,
when hopes had in the balance hung,
so we now face the future lost
and ask if it was worth the cost.

rs 10.4.21

[Iurii Alekseyevich Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was the first human to go into orbit around the Earth on 12 April 1961.]