October ninth, 2009, we sent
A rocket off to Luna. We meant to bomb her
Into submission? No, our good intent:
To blow up surface dust to test for ice.
On the same day the Nobel Prize Committee
Amazed the world by bestowing its amity

Award upon a tyro. A calamity,
It seemed to some — an evil precedent
Imposed upon America by committee.
They gave the Peace Prize to Barack Obama!
Many Republicans needed to ask for ice-
Water and Schnapps, or even an oxygen tent.

No one had dreamed an explosion of this extent
Could blow moondust in the face of amity
Around the House and Senate. It wasn’t nice
That those Norse should cause old pols to resent
Explosive love. It was a suicide bomber
NASA sent to ruin comity —

If not around the world, the R. N. C.
At the very least. Gaddafi in his tent
Celebrated Luna’s death. “Embalm her!”
Was his battle cry, his enmity
For global infidelity was sent
To Cocoa, Florida, well-packed in ice.

But NASA said, “It isn’t very nice
To imply we had an impact on the Committee
Rather than the moon! Our bomb was sent
Out into space. We’re not incompetent!”
Meanwhile, a wave of pure tsunamity
Engulfed the Oval Office, and Obama,

Although surprised himself, felt like the balm or
Salve of sweet salvation in a trice
Had rehabilitated amity,
Restored a modicum of comity
To the world at large to some extent,
One could sense the very aloe’s scent.

Barack Obama, the Nobel Committee,
And malcontents hope NASA finds its ice,
But what price amity amid dissent?

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WESLI COURT began publishing under his own name as a reviewer for the Cleveland magazine American Weave in 1965. Since then he has published in several anthologies and in various periodicals including Song, Perspective, The Iowa Review, Spoon River Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, and New York Quarterly. He is the author of a children’s picture storybook, Murgatroyd and Mabel, illustrated by Robert Michaels (1978), and several collections of poetry including Curses and Laments (1978), The Airs of Wales (1981), The Collected Lyrics of Lewis Turco / Wesli Court 1953-2004, and The Gathering of the Elders and Other Poems, just published by Star Cloud Press of Scottsdale, Arizona. He lives in Maine where was for a number of years the proprietor of The Mathom Bookshop of Dresden Mills.

3 responses to “The Day We Bombed the Moon (and Barack Obama Won the Nobel Peace Prize), a Sestina”

  1. Kelly Cherry says:

    Love all the wordplay.

  2. Uche Ogbuji says:

    I added audio of the author reading “The Day We Bombed the Moon.” Scroll up and look to the right of the title.

  3. Ruth F. Harrison says:

    Thanks, Lew. This sestina is fun. I especially like the variety in the line endings– that’s pretty fancy footwork. As to the political scene– what more can one say? In that rare atmosphere, only the mad play any part. Your audio version is a delight. Thanks again–

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