Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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 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.

I recall teaching this particular poem by Walt Whitman to my tenth grade students. I stayed late the day before, so I could stick stars on the classroom ceiling. The next day, as my students filed in, they noticed my black robe and my Astrological map (onto which I had attached the poem), but they did not see the stars. After they were finally seated, I introduced Whitman and then read his poem, and at the very end, I shut the lights. All the stars twinkled and shined!! There were "ohhs" and "ahhs."
Yes, some poems can be inspiring, entertaining, and witty.

Here is one I wrote that commemorates a similar experience.

Ode to the Poet

She spoke from the interior

Of a warm library

Where a roaring fire glowed.

She spoke of yellow daffodils

And dogwood trees

Yet she never touched its folds.

She was a poet of old

Viewing through the looking glass

I swear that listening to her

Was truly a pain in the Ass.

I left the interior prison

Stepped on the dew kissed grass

I breathed the great outdoors

At last.
© Natala Orobello

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