Introduction

“Off the Outer Space Tomorrow Morning” is one of the literary written by Norman Nicholson. Norman Nicholson is a poet from the United Kingdom well known for his straightforward attitude and thus he is very direct in his thought and tells whatever he feels without any hesitation and this element can be seen throughout the poem. The text of this piece is the simple story of the thoughts of an astronaut as he prepares to head off into outer space.

Explanation

Stanza 1

You can start the Count Down; you can take a last look;
You can pass me my helmet from its plastic hook;
You can cross out my name from the telephone book
For I’m off to Outer Space tomorrow morning.

The poet here is telling so many things for us to do when he is using the phrase “you can” indicating to the readers. He says that we can start the count down because he feels that he is ready and asks us to take a last look at him because he feels that he might not return back to earth. He is having negative thoughts and thus he asks to look at him for the last time before he goes to space. He has to gear up and asks us to give him the helmet and asks the readers to cross his name from the telephone book because no one will be able to call him anyway as the space shuttle won’t have a telephone to talk to people on earth and will leave the next day early in the morning to outer space.

Stanza 2

There won’t be any calendar, there won’t be any clock;
Daylight will be on the switch and winter under lock.
 I’ll doze when I’m sleepy and wake without a knock-
 For I’m off to Outer Space tomorrow morning.

The poet says that there won’t be any calendar or a clock as even if he carries them, it will not be of any use because he won’t experience day and night, similarly, the calendar will be useless too because only when he returns to earth, he will know for how many days he was in the outer space. For him it will be day only when he switched on the light, he is relating the artificial light to daylight or sunlight. The lock and the door are the only things that separate him from outer space which is cold and dark and relates it to winter. He will speel whenever he is sleepy and since there is no one to wake him up he will get up whenever he feels. The poet then reminds the readers that he is off to outer space the next morning.

Stanza 3

I’ll be writing no letters; I’ll be posting no mail.
For with nobody to visit me and not a friend in hail,
In solit’ry confinement as complete as any goal
I’ll be off to Outer Space tomorrow morning.

The poet then tells the readers that there is no use in writing any letters and won’t be able to post any mail. The poet will be all alone, he will have no one to visit him neither in times of happiness nor in times of suffering. The poet feels that because he’s in a space shuttle he compares it to jail as he feels suffocated like living in a box.

Stanza 4

When my capsule door is sealed and my space-flight has begun,
With the tea cups circling round me like the planets round the Sun,
I’ll be centre of my gravity, a universe of one,
Setting off to Outer Space tomorrow morning

As soon as the poet will enter the spaceship and the door will be shut, his space flight will begin and when he enters the space as there will not be any gravity, everything around the poet will encircle him and feels that he will be the center of his gravity his belongings resemble the planets that move around the center of gravity.

Stanza 5

You can watch on television and follow from afar,
Tracking through your telescope my upward shooting star,
But you needn’t think I’ll give a damn for you or what you are
When I am off to Outer Space tomorrow morning.

The poet tells the people on earth can watch him and follow him from the earth and can track him through their telescope and compares his rocket to a shooting star. The poet however doesn’t care about who’s watching or following him as he will be in space and he won’t have any idea about it. The poet feels proud that he will be in outer space the next day.

Stanza 6

And when the rockets thrust me on my trans-galactic hop,
With twenty hundred light-years before the first stop,
Then you and every soul on earth can go and blow your top
For I’m off to Outer Space tomorrow morning

The poet says that when the rocket will take off, it will create a thrust and he will go on a journey across the galaxy. His journey is endless with twenty hundred light-years before his first stop. He will be on a journey so far away and meanwhile, the people on earth can go on with their day-to-day life because these won’t affect him as he will be off to outer space the next morning

Conclusion

The poet uses a unique technique. Through negative references, he conveys positive feelings. When he compares life in outer space to solitary confinement in jail and when he says there would be no friend who would enquire after his well-being, it is as though he laments about his loneliness. But then, the tone, which is light and jovial, persists throughout the poem and we can make out that he is looking forward to the experience of being alone amidst the vastness of the outer space with no one to disturb him. The poet has no sense of regret as such an existence offers him the splendour of being the centre of his own gravity, a universe by himself, with teacups circling around him like the planets in orbit.