Tuesday, January 22, 2008

580. Druidic Rimes - Howard Nemerov

The mind went forth with naked eye
To take a turn about the sky.
The number of the stars was small,
Not 'numberless' at all.

Back then, the nature of the field
Was chiefly to be unrevealed.
But when the telescope was trained
Where only darkness reigned,

Or seemed to, lights broke into being
As if to marry the eye's seeing
In the flowering of a cosmic spring
That grew like anything.

Astronomers then put their hopes
Into profounder telescopes
And for a while the universe
Answered with stars and stars,

Whole galaxies and nebulae,
As if they'd just begun to be,
Blazed in the dark of outer space
As in the mind's dark place.

Now mind went forth without the eye
On waves beyond the visible sky:
Impulses from what scarce was matter
Bounced off a shallow platter

Into the realm of number pure
The only measure made so sure
That mind was guaranteed to mind it
And always stand behind it.

Number went through the universe.
Numberless numbers in reverse
Came back in echo, pulse and blip;
It was as if the lip

Of silence learned to intimate
In integers that it might mate
Its dark selfhood to any mind
Consenting to blind

Into the secret labyrinth
Of its own lens, and its first myth
Of sacrificing to the sky
The always naked eye.

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