Space Poetry Initiative
In October 2020, Prof. Lorraine Hanlon approached Prof. Gerardine Meaney of UCD’s School of English, Drama and Film, with the idea to create a poem for EIRSAT-1.
Jennie Ryan at the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), Kathleen Moran and Joe Kelly from the JCSP Demonstration Library Project, Assoc. Prof. Paul Perry in the UCD School of English, Drama and Film and Emer O Boyle of UCD Parity Studios came on-board to get the project underway.
During January-February 2021, when Irish schools were closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, a series of online creative writing workshops was held with 12 school pupils (12-15 years old) from all around the country over a period of 5 weeks. Then, UCD MA Creative Writing students collaborated to create the final piece, based on the writings created during the workshops.
Emer O Boyle and Dr. David Murphy from the EIRSAT-1 team worked with EFJ Engineering in Dublin to laser etch the poem on the outer cover of the Antenna Deployment Module, the part of the satellite responsible for communications to and from home.
Ireland has an exciting space programme that is growing rapidly. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects are important – but they are not the only way to engage with space. One of the goals of EIRSAT-1 is to inspire curiosity and wonder about space, creating greater awareness of its importance to our everyday lives.
The space poem project brought writers, students, teachers, librarians, engineers, scientists and artists together in a collaborative, creative way. The co-created poem is called ‘All Ways Home’. Ireland is associated with writers and literature. We wanted to carry a piece of that heritage to space as a way for people to feel more connected to the first Irish space mission.
All Ways Home
A lone pilot searching for home amid starry frescos,
And little blood waves that mimic the tide-pull.
Our insignificance! Our planet a crumb on the fabric of spacetime,
Sharing the same sky, you and I, wherever feet are anchored.
I will write your name on the moon with my fingertips,
An apparition cast from memory's design.
Universe-whisper, orange as goldfish.
All I want is the delicious scent, the dark blue muddy shoes
and ruined grass of starlight, home.
Strawberry moon in the cloudless, blue black mystic, one day it could all be rain.
Those wind-swept words; voices clutched to our warmth,
Courage plucked from conversation.
Breezebreath, feel the blush dust my cheeks, the stars like old photos.
Leave the porch light on. The children dance, their mothers sing.
Everything changes all at once, the sky, the sun.
Bound with images of mystery, like lemongrass and sleep, except for the tree.
I look up. I see stars. They live forever inside me.
Home is the wild bitterness of backyard blackberries,
A bay tree, its fragrant leaves,
A smell so familiar it has none.
Curated by Assoc. Prof. Paul Perry, with Professor Ian Davidson, Dr. Jessica Traynor, and Dr. Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi
Poets (UCD): Alison Martha Fagan, Ciara Mulherin, Lorna Donlon, Zandra Carrington, Jessica O’Brien, Sean O’Neill, Nina A. Devlin, Andrew Jeremy Nicoll, Kelly Michels, Elizabeth Paulsen, Maryanne Williams, Mary Irving, LJ Morris
Goran Roche Wynne
Micheal Joseph Mac Phaidín
with thanks to Lily Cahill, Jennie Ryan, Simon O'Connor (MoLI), the JCSP Demonstration Library Project and Dr. Katie Mishler and everyone involved in the project.
Librarians and teachers:
Engraving of the poem on the EIRSAT-1 Antenna Deployment Module outer cover
by Emer O Boyle