When I, Too, Heard the Learned Astronomer

Claim to fame: the biologist Ken Miller has this on his wall. When I first took his introductory course, he read the Walt Whitman poem to the class and said that if Whitman had seen some photographs taken under microscopes he would have come around. Then I wrote this.

I have heard
 songs of stars seen

from smashed skulls after falling

in love, of gravity that shoves

troubled hearts to Earth’s core

where Dante met Satan, of a

galaxy rolled into a chocolate bar

with musical ratios of caramel and

nougat filling and an Earth that

spins on beach balls in hands

while taking vacationers for a spin

on its beaches– it’s got the whole

world in its hands.  
All works out

not according to plan but

according to hands whose fingers

stand for digits so when you can’t

use fingers to erase problems that

make you wish you could turn

back clocks, let bedtime recall the

learned astronomer, the charts and

the diagrams to add divide and

measure them:
 when we were

hunter-gatherers stars emitted the

light that will hit your windowpane and bend through

your cornea tonight. Your cornea

can turn back clocks. 
  When I

feel stagnant, stale wishing these

marker-stained sheets would fly

away like Aladdin’s magic carpet

I hear the learned astronomer say

we zoom 18 miles through a

mystery every second and not a

single swooping sparrow is left



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