"When I heard the learn'd astronomer" [after Whitman] - Mark Bromberg

"When I heard the learn'd astronomer"
(after Whitman)

When I heard the learn'd astronomer
declare he had reached the end of the universe --

that there were no more worlds to discover
nor stars to count --

that he had numbered and catalogued them all
and given the habitable planets the names of his grandchildren,

I realized how lucky I was still to have the mystery
of what I should do tomorrow

and the day after that. How intriguing
the uncertainty of the here and now,

undefined and with days still unnumbered,
still to be able to gaze up

even at the numbered stars
thinking there must be one he missed.

That one's mine.

(photo by David Noah)

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