I am, as I said, buried in second-draft deadlines (which is actually as exciting as it is stressful). I do my best writing in the middle of the night, when it’s dark and dead quiet. The only downside is that when I hit a wall, there’s not much I can do to refocus without waking the whole apartment up. Can’t turn the TV on. Can’t go for a walk. Can’t bake.
So what? Last night, I pulled like half a dozen poetry books off the shelf, and started slipping in and out of random verses. It reminded me that I used read poetry all the time…
Anyway, this one from Leaves of Grass, because it’s a science poem, and this is a science blog:
When I heard the learned 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 wandered off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
It reminds me of Physics lectures in that very small and oddly shaped building on Rutgers’ Bush campus, which I loved in the beginning and hated in the end.
It also reminds me of Alaska, because an old beau sent it to me when I was doing field work up there during grad school, and I printed it out and hung it over my bench in the field station. It was summer time, and it was the Arctic Circle, so there actually weren’t any stars to speak of. After two months of constant sunlight, the poem was my only reminder that nighttime still existed, that it was waiting for me back home. And that once all the work – the adding and dividing of figures and the making of charts and diagrams – was done, I would have time yet to relish it.
Ok. back to it.