Poetry Friday: When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

December 5th, 2008

Bill Varner, one of our editors at Stenhouse, selected this week’s poem again.

It grows dark early this time of year in Maine. And while I try and appreciate each season for its own joys and merits, I don’t exactly enjoy the short days and long nights. One of the things that lessens the darkness is taking the dog out at night, and looking up at a clear sky. Some nights, you can even see the Milky Way.

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
by Walt Whitman

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.

Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mary Lee  |  December 5th, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Orion keeps me company when I walk in the early morning dark.

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