When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer
Walt Whitman first published this in, Leaves of Grass.
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 the 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 live in a city where the 'light pollution' blanks out much of the night sky. You can only see the brightest stars. However in the desert, or in the high mountains where the air is dry and clear, the Milky Way bursts brilliantly overhead. And sometimes it seems that you can reach out and touch heaven.