A poem by the Internationally celebrated poet Yogesh Patel, the Freeman of the City of London and recipient of an MBE in literature, will be the part of the Polaris Trilogy. The compilation, which contains poems from every continent, is scheduled to be sent to the Moon in 2024 to become a part of the Lunar Codex on a future NASA flight. This world anthology will be published here on Earth by US publisher Brick Street Poetry Inc. in 2023.
“NASA is sending scientific instruments to the Moon, via Astrobotic Technologies’ and Intuitive Machines’ commercial lunar landers, launched via commercial rockets built by the United Launch Alliance and SpaceX.
And we poets – and artists, novelists, essayists, musicians, lyricists, scriptwriters, and filmmakers – well, we will be there as well.”
-Samuel Peralta, Founder, The Lunar Codex Toronto, Canada.
Brick Street Poetry’s lead editor, Joyce Brinkman, said, “The Polaris Trilogy is a panoramic snapshot of poetry on Earth captured during 2022. It’s exciting to know that human art and culture are joining technology and science in space, and we are pleased to have Yogesh’s poem on board.”
The poem poignantly and philosophically captures the meaning of life, borrowing methodically from the banks of the Vltava in Prague, where Sri Chinmoy’s landmark statue has been installed with its serene namaste highlighting the message of peace. Patel feels he has stood alone with Namaste all his life, and hence, the whole ethos holds a great significance of value and heritage, which translates in his own poetic journey. Of all the cities in the world, to find namaste at Prague onlooking to Kafka’s metropolis holds a major connotation to him in the 100-years celebration of T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land. “We humans have to pause time to time, talk in namaste, and rediscover our humanity,” says Patel. Human history is not only about conflicts and politics. Arts and cultures represent us the best. These lines from Patel’s poem, Standing alone with namaste, reveal life’s meditative stillness. Vltava represents all rivers, and the civilizations around them.
The Lunar Codex is a library/museum of sorts. Its content will be readable by the astronauts who visit the Moon for exploration and as a stopping point on the way to Mars. It will be protected from radiation to be preserved for millions of years. Each of the three sections of The Polaris Trilogy has poems in the mother tongue of its poets, written from inspiration from three words that help tell Earth’s story.
“It is also well documented that NASA sent aboard the Voyager a message on a historic journey to space as a photographic record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk in a time capsule containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. Hence, to extend this ethos, when I was invited to submit a poem for the time capsule for the moon Southern part, I felt quite honoured to be able to represent my heritage. What better locale for it than the Vltava River in Prague, where at the centre of the Western culture, stands the lone statue of Sri Chinmoy with his namaste cast in bronze. It represents my Indian heritage and the philosophy. As humans, we have to leap in imagination to define our meaning and existence in context of the cosmos. Art and culture allow us to distil ourselves out from our negative shenanigans,” says Yogesh Patel.
Yogesh Patel MBE runs Skylark Publications UK as well as the non-profit Word Masala project to promote South Asian diaspora literature. Also honoured with the Freedom of the City of London, he is a recipient of many awards and has read his work at important venues like the House of Lords and the National Poetry Library. His work has recently appeared at The Royal Society of Literature and Stanford University and the Writers Mosaic of The Royal Literary Fund and two antholgies. And two anthologies published by India’s Sahitya Akademi. Published in numerous journals and anthologies; and with films and LPs under his belt, his latest collection of poems, The Rapids, has been published by The London Magazine. By profession, he is a qualified optometrist and an accountant.
Through his column Indian Poets Abroad, he has regularly contributed to ‘iGlobal’.