"Into the Light" by Chip Ghigna
Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30"

a poem in honor of the space jumper
Felix Baumgartner


We were different when we returned to earth.
Too alone in our fall to forget,
we lost all trust in the touch of gentle hands.
The dropped baby in us grew.

We listened too long to a thinner wind,
climbed too close to a hollow sun,
stood one by one in the cockpit’s open door,
left our mothered souls in the fading steel
of a Cessna’s shaking belly,
stepped into a handless world,
stretched the corners of our eyes until they spit,
watched an anvil earth fly up at us,
took our own umbilical cord in hand and ripped,
and fell like frightened spiders
who spin out frantic silk that clings to only air.

Our jarred bodies lay on a sudden fist of clay,
unwound themselves from web and line
and carried the dead fish in our feet
away to dreams of distant seas.

—Charles Ghigna


  1. Exceptional, Charles! Love how you captured his innermost feelings so vividly...I especially like "left my mothered soul in the fading steel of an empty aircraft's belly." This is a bit Major Tom-ish, except Tom is hurtling back TO Earth, not away from it. Well done.

  2. Wow, talk about exploding the moment! Thank you so much for writing and for sharing this.

  3. Exploded moment, indeed! Love the lines:
    "I listened too long to a thinner wind,
    climbed too close to a hollow sun...".

  4. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. It seems you've really been that person, Charles. And now we have too... Thank you!

  5. Thanks, all, for your comments!

    Yes, Amy, I was "that person," but on a much smaller scale. I went skydiving years ago ... from a Cessna at 5,000 feet. ;-)

  6. Wow - this is fantastic. I felt the fall. I hope Baumgartner sees this. I just could not do it. When my son went gliding with scouts, I couldn't even watch that!

  7. Late to the party but better late than....First time finding this site and I love it already. I marveled first when I watched the jump live ON MY CELL phone in the car riding on Route 20 in NY State as a man with my father's name, way above the earth, miles and miles above the earth over New Mexico turned into a screaming bullet and tumbled for earth. And I marveled when he landed, grateful that this mothered soul was safely on land. And I marveled a third time reading your poem, Charles. I was mesmerized then and now as I look at the light of the art and feel the heat of your poem. I turned from a skeptic to someone who was able to appreciate the courage and science, determination and grace of a man like Felix Baumgartner. If you dream it, you can do it. Maybe that is really true. Thank you. Janet F.

  8. Thanks for dropping in, Janet. Your post here is a poem in itself!