Monday, April 16, 2012

National Poetry Month - Walt Whitman

The Astronomer - Jan Vermeer

When I was growing up, light pollution was not nearly the problem it is today.  I could lay on the ground in my backyard and look up at the Milky Way, lost in the endless number of stars.  My children have not had the same opportunity.  Last fall when we were in Tropic, Utah, I took them outside, and we lay on the ground and looked at the Milky Way.  I have always been fascinated by the stars and the immensity of space.  No wonder I love astronomy in art and poetry as well!

"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer"

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with 
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

--Walt Whitman

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