Howard Nemerov (1920-1991) wrote two poems about the space shuttle. "On an Occasion of National Mourning" was written after the Challenger accident. "Witnessing the Launch of the Shuttle Atlantis" was written for NASA, during the time that Nemerov was poet laureate of the United States.
Books by Howard Nemerov published by the University of Chicago Press.
Howard Nemerov page at the Academy of American Poets.
On an Occasion of National Mourning
It is admittedly difficult for a whole
And in a week or so the thing is done,
Witnessing the Launch of the Shuttle Atlantis
So much of life in the world is waiting, that
And wondered if much was lost to gain all this
So much of life in the world is memory
What yet may come of this? We cannot know.
Copyright notice: Excerpted from War Stories and Trying Conclusions by Howard Nemerov, published by the University of Chicago Press. © Howard Nemerov. All rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that this entire notice, including copyright information, is carried and provided that the University of Chicago Press is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the University of Chicago Press.