Monday, February 11, 2008

When I Heard the Learned 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.


alec soth


sroden said...

i did a painting based on that text many years ago, it's one of my favorites. a great one when talking to graduate students who are consumed by theory!

Moon River said...

why won't you show us???

Aleksandar said...

so strange. so similar. almost same.

Princess Haiku said...

I recently viewed a PBS broadcast about Whitman and the social repression of his era as contrasted by the unique genius of his expression. -That someone of Whitman's originality was felt to need the approval of bourgeois writers such as Emerson or Thoreau. I won't get started. There are times when I feel that art is a vampire sucking up essential consciousness and life energy of real artists, and spitting their bones out. It can be such a savage process and yet illuminating. This is how I read Whitman and not usually so early in the morning.

Thanks for a post that got me thinking.