April 18, 2013

Poem in My Pocket

When I was a kid, the poem that meant the most to me was called "When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer," by Walt Whitman. It really captured the feeling I had when I looked at the night sky and wondered about my place in the universe. Where did I fit in? And what else is out there?

Today is "Poem in my Pocket" day, so this is the poem I am carrying in with me in my pocket today. For kids like me, who love to look at the stars and wonder, here is how it goes:



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 the 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.


Photo: The Milky Way viewed from the Kofa Mountains in Arizona (credit Richard Payne)

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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