I Too Heard The Learn’d Astronomer Speak


“Ah!” The learn’d Astronomer said,

“Whitman wasn’t nice to my kind.”


“Maybe.” I said, “But how do you find

the ideas that sprang from his mind?”


“Well, of that one poem,” the Astronomer said,

“of a captain and his ship; that one was not of his favorites.

But, I sure liked it.”


“Yes.  A rebel, was he; for he wanted to see

poetry free; at least, from meter and rhyme;

and as well, of course, the classical line.

From the model of writing, he sought something new –

The Captain, a flashback of pall.

Abe Lincoln, he’s citing; but, in mourning withdrew

unto feelings of saddness and wrote it withal.


And Walt wouldn’t like the way that I write;

for I rhyme and follow some structure.”


I’d finished my yapping and looked to the fellow,

and realised my yap had been boring.

For the Learn’d Astronomer had dozed and was napping!

Falling short of some snoring, the silence bestirred him,

and he jumped to awake with a jolt,

as if some volt from a bolt of lightning hit him.


“Oh, yes.  And as I was saying….he doesn’t like my kind.”


“Yes,” I said. “Right.”  

And left, and straight back to forward, to find myself right out of doors.

It was into the night air I poured.


‘And from time to time,

Looked up in perfect silence at the stars.’


Oh teacher, my teacher! of teachers, the best.


When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer speak

it struck me like lightning all his ignoring

and to sleep! with great ease, without snoring!




©2013, Marvin Loyd Welborn

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