THREE VARIATIONS ON THE THEME OF MANíS INSIGNIFICANCE IN THE UNIVERSE


(ONE)
 


Thoughts look inward to the self and outward to the stars.

Clutch at the finite and tangible, understood thing s of earth;
Trickle the damp loam through the fingers;
Feel the wet grasses;
Touch the harsh beauty of the bark of trees;
Absorb the smells and the sights and the sounds of the known earth;
Inward to the small frightened self,
Fearfully, outward to the stars.

Outward to the wonder of the vast, boundless universe;
To the boiling violence of bursting suns;
To the torn fires, far-flung down the void;
To the cold and the silence of the dead planets;
To the desolate moons,
The star fragments,
The endless hurtling,
The incessant orbital movement.

Flee these thoughts before the flames of the far stars,
The radiant luminosity leaping down the light years;
Cringe before the infinite, the immeasurable nebulosity
Spinning an intricate pattern of light
Along the galactic looms of eternity;
Fearfully, outward to the stars,
Inward to the small, frightened self.

Yield the impassioned senses to the Springís burgeoning,
Lave sleek limbs with Summerís warmth,
Feel the cold sting of Autumn rain,
Fold tired arms through the wild desolation of Winter;
Absorb the known, the puny things of earth;
Inward to the small, frightened self,
Fearfully, outward to the stars.

Galaxy by galaxy, endless constellations hung in the immensity of darkness;
The far light of some exploded sun
That burst an age ago,
Now flickers dimly over frightened eyes.
Fearfully, from the earth-speck,
Stare
Outward to the stars.

 

 

(TWO)


SPACE AGE


Once we had pale stars with which to dream,
We saw the clustered constellations flung
Along the edge of the world, then wildly swung
Across the arch of the sky; a jewel-gleam
Draped on a velvet splendour, richly hung.

Now mind must grasp, and thought must needs convey
The vastness of this mighty panoply;
The swirling wonder of the Milky Way;
That twinkling lights, set in a silent sky,
Are blazing suns a billion miles away.

But mind recoils, rejecting facts revealed
Of distance, sun from sun and world from world;
That light, so pale, to which our dreams could yield,
In mighty flame from the parent stars was hurled
When Roman legions battled though the Weald.

Content my mind with insignificance;
The universe expands and I grow small;
So, I must stoop to study flowers and plants
And butterflies sun-basking on a wall,
Restore my stature in a world of ants.

 

 

(THREE)


STATISTICS

Cold statistics have induced a mood
Of vacant, witless wonder;
Our galaxy of stars in billions brood,
And burst, and boil, and blunder
About a vast, expanding endlessness,
And, Science swears it right,
There are one hundred million galaxies, no less,
In telescopic sight !

My life began, these scientists have cried,
In orgies of statistics quite as rife;
Five million frenzied spermatozoa died,
Spurred by a fecund, momentary life,
Frantic to find an egg to fertilise;
A lavish sacrifice, proud and magnificent,
To give me being; itís hard to realise
Weíre insignificant !!

 

X

Other Work by Namur King

 

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Blue Marble

Earth in Space

 

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