Brian’s Reflection: Saturday, May 31, 2008
Earth! My Likeness!
Earth! my likeness!
Though you look so impassive, ample and spheric there,
I now suspect that is not all;
I now suspect there is something fierce in you, eligible to burst forth;
For an athlete is enamour'd of me--and I of him;
But toward him there is something fierce and terrible in me, eligible to burst forth,
I dare not tell it in words--not even in these songs.
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, the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the learned 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, poet, born on this day, 1819,
in West Hills, Long Island
The line from the hymn “Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways” rises to my mind: Earth shall be fair, and all her people one. We humans keep battering the Earth, poisoning Gaia, and yet (lucky as we are!) Dennis and I have seen the hills of the Central Coast of California rolling in painted extravagance with yellow mustard, and the roadsides swaying with the fierce soft yellow poppies. Despite what we do, Gaia continues to “burst forth”. And I sense that, yes, in each of us, the Beautiful One, “fierce and terrible”, is “eligible to burst forth”. Look for that “athelete” within!
We may know all the scientific details, in themselves astonishing, about the Creation, about ourselves. But even more it is crucial for our Being that we look “up in perfect silence at the stars”, both within us and without.