Heel & Toe to the End

Heel & Toe to the End

Gagarin says, in ecstasy,
he could have
gone on forever

he floated
ate and sang
and when he emerged from that

one hundred eight minutes off
the surface of
the earth he was smiling

Then he returned
to take his place
among the rest of us

from all that division and
subtraction a measure
toe and heel

heel and toe he felt
as if he had
been dancing

—William Carlos Williams, 1962

By William Carlos Williams, from Collected Poems 1938-1962, Volume II, copyright © 1962 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Home page image: "Wegbereiter Ikarus," print, woodblock on paper, by Wilhelm Geissler, 1966. (Courtesy NASM)