On the Death of Friends

By Jim Davidson

And there was a time, not long ago
When the dream was young, we would go
Together. The stars would be ours
And all the planets, even Mars.

But time was wasted, getting there.
We trusted others and had no fear
That they would work to open space
Not just for us, but the human race.

We watched and waited, helped and worked.
But in the program, corruption lurked.
Pork and fools, timidness and more,
Not opening space, they were the door.

Years went by and little got done,
And still we waited, children of the Sun.
We knew somehow that real soon
We would go together, dancing on the Moon.

But time was passing and took its toll,
In years, and lives, and parts of our soul.
Our friends are dying, one by one,
No more to ride with us and share the fun.

We still will go, though they will not.
And those that delayed us should be shot,
For stealing the dream and taking away
The friends who were going with us someday.

We won't forget them, we'll press on.
Gerry O'Neill, Alvin Carley, Deke Slayton,
Robert Heinlein, Todd Hawley, and others soon,
We'll fight to build them monuments on the Moon.

We owe them that, and so much more.
We owe ourselves and the future we work for.
We'll make it sooner, we'll run and fly,
Before another friend has got to die.

We're angry and sad, frustrated so much
That their hands that reached could never touch
The stars or planets, nor even the Moon.
We cry to know they died too soon.

We shoulder their burdens and carry on,
More determined, more certain, that when we're gone
Our kids will know about the pain
That our friends and we shared, but not in vain.

We miss them so, we feel their loss.
We want them back, we want to cross
The planets' paths and see the stars
And walk the planets with them, even Mars.

And no one will delay us again.

- Copyright 1993, 1996 Jim Davidson, All Rights Reserved

This poem was read as a eulogy for Alvin O. Carley at his funeral in July 1993.