Vast and free twirling round
gazing down on a breadth of seas
For ancients’ sake boulders quake
and spread their plume and fume
in pillows of magnetic blue.
All this time we knew you
a firm sphere of life
revolution all around you
and yet it is not all
who tremble as you shake,
lie in your wake.
We’re one and all reliant on
the One source.
These heavenly bodies
are not far from it.
Constancy in our distance,
we stay our path, in safety.
No freedom flier
but remain, obey, rely.
One solstice past
an emergency flight path.
We cannot wish to undo
or change our place
for all order that surrounds
and lies floating in chaotic wait
will unleash their quiet laden weight.
Best to gaze on star’s light from afar.
An infinite dome of sky was expanded above us
an ocean of firmament of which the dwellers among
houses and mountains can have but little conception.
The troops of glittering stars,
the dark, the shrouding night,
the unaccustomed voices of my companions,
deepened the awe that oppressed me, and,
as I stood between them, I became as earnest
and occupied as themselves.
I forgot everything but the incomprehensible grandeur
of the universe revealed to me,
and the majestic sweep of planets
across the field of the telescope.
What a freshness of awe and delight came over me!
What floods of thought came,
wave upon wave, across my mind!
And how insignificant I felt
before this wilderness of worlds!
- Hesba Stretton – The Ghosts in the Clock Room in Charles Dickens’ tale ‘The Haunted House’.
————————————–Photo by Greg Rakozy