Gagarin told the women, "Do not be afraid,"
for they were astonished,
seeing his dragging parachute and his strange carapace.
"I am a Soviet like you,
who has descended from space,
and must find a telephone to call Moscow."
Fischer said, "Let none attend my funeral
except my Icelandic hosts
and my chessmaster wife."
Both came to earth.
Fischer lived long and made enemies.
Perhaps he was mad.
Gagarin, a short man,
told how beautiful
was the blue of earth, the purple horizon,
from the high vantage he had reached.
He died young.
a nation tightroped above Ragnarok.
Gagarin said do not destroy this planet, so beautiful.
Fischer refused to play further,
called his homeland his enemy.
It probably was.
The chess man explored pathways of action,
the deepest of deep players.
Gargarin saw farther
than any had seen before.
Both circled the earth:
Fischer prowled its surface with his void passport;
Gagarin soared above on metal and fire.
Fischer competed and brawled. Even his will was contested.
Gagarin, in less than two hours,
saw the earth,
all at once.