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On 15 June 1963, 26-year-old Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. Her mission lasted three days and her call sign was Seagull

Hey sky, I am coming!
Valentina greeted the heavens
As she roared into space

Call sign, Seagull
The first woman cosmonaut
Wedged in a capsule with
Only confidence for company

When navigation failed
She fixed it
Sharp and funny, Valentina
Blazed her own trail to the stars

She landed in a Kazakhstan field
Startling the villagers
Emerging thirsty and smiling
They loved her!

She married a spaceman
Two gulls together
Became a politician
Shrugged off the past

But nothing would match
The thrill of that moment
Hey Sky, I am coming!
Years pass
The seagull has yet to land

Patric Cunnane’s latest collection is The Ghost of Franz Kafka. He organises events by Dodo Modern Poets in London and was the founder of Ragged Trousered Cabaret which performed shows and benefits for the labour and trade union movement. 21st-century Poetry is edited by Andy Croft, email


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