saturn

When I heard the learned astronomer,
when the proofs, the figures, in columns before me,
I saw the coy smile of a lively galaxy, young as it leaves
comet tails of red kisses burning.
Like a timid lover, it takes a step back and runs
away to bait you closer, peeking
behind the cosmos shoulder.

When I heard the learned astronomer,
I heard the lively galaxy keeping the stars awake every night,
resonating a hum as it chases
the universe but then collapses on its back,
lost in a grand sense of wanderlust.

When I was shown the charts, the diagrams, to add, divide
and measure them,
I felt the fidgeting fingers unravel
The silken hair of a celestial siren,
As it yearned for an understanding
in a flow of death and birth, holding on
In the always surging fire of the universe.

When I heard the learned astronomer,
I watched ample applause of the audience
with the same stumbling steps after the same siren,
all keeping the mere lively thoughts
of an overwhelming flow.

Gliding out, I wandered off by myself
in the fantastic stellar night with my head spinning
and looked up in unspoiled silence at the stars
and I made some sense of it all.

 

 

Walt Whitman – When I heard the Learned Astronomer

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