Astronaut Poet Says 'Space Is My Mistress'
Don Pettit takes a self-portrait in the Cuopla of the International Space Station.
Credit: Don Pettit (via Twitter as @astro_Pettit)

Call him the cosmic Renaissance man: American Don Pettit is an astronaut, a scientist, and now, a poet.

Pettit, who has a reputation for oddball space experiments, is currently living 240 miles (386 km) above the Earth on the International Space Station, has written an ode to orbit called "Space Is My Mistress."

The poem, written for National Poetry Month in April, was posted on NASA's website and on Pettit's blog at the website for Smithsonian's Air & Space Magazine.

"We dance on the swirls of cloud tops, while skirting the islands of blue. You know my heart beats fast for you," the astronaut wrote.

Pettit, a chemical engineer who became an astronaut in 1996, has been living on the space station since December. In addition to his science and space handyman duties, Pettit has made a name for himself as a space photographer and out-of-this-world blogger. [Amazing Photos: Star Trails by Don Pettit]

And this isn't even his first trip beyond Earth.

  • Space.com
  • The Moon - It\'s our nearest neighbor after all.
  • Mars - The Red Planet should be the next giant leap.
  • Deep Space - Orbiting outposts are the only way to go.
  • Asteroid Waystation - We should hitch a ride on a space rock.
From November 2002 to May 2003, Pettit served on the space station's Expedition 6 mission. He also flew on the space shuttle Endeavour in November 2008.

Yet while his love for space is clear, the astronaut's poem rings with longing for Earth.

"I marvel at your figure, defined by the edges of continents," he wrote. "You gaze at me with turquoise eyes, perhaps mistaken for ocean atolls."

Pettit is scheduled to end his current stint on the Expedition 31 mission and return to Earth in May.

Here is Pettit's poem in full:

Space is My Mistress

Space is my Mistress,
and she beckons my return.
Since our departure I think of you
and yearn to fly across the heavens arm in arm.
I marvel at your figure,
defined by the edges of continents.
You gaze at me with turquoise eyes,
perhaps mistaken for ocean atolls.
You tease me to fall into your bosom,
sculptured by tectonic rifts,
only to move away as if playing some tantalizing game.
Time and time we turn together,
through day, and night, and day,
repeating encounters every 90 minutes with a freshness,
as if we have never seen our faces before.
We stroll outside together,
enveloped by naked cosmos,
filled with desire to be one.
So close,
you sense my every breath,
which masks your stare through visor haze.
We dance on the swirls of cloud tops,
while skirting the islands of blue.
You know my heart beats fast for you.
Oh, Space is my mistress,
and when our orbits coincide,
we will once again make streaks of aurora across the sky.

You can follow SPACE.com assistant managing editor Clara Moskowitz on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.