(for those who remember FIDONET)

Bertel Thorvaldsen's statue of CopernicusI yield to no one in my love for astronomy.
Not Copernicus standing for hours to observe
The flight of planets.

Not Kepler waiting on cold roofs at night.
Not Galileo peering through his tiny telescope,
Nor Kuiper watching comets.

Though pinned disabled to a daytime schedule
I, too, have wandered among planets,
And sailed star-seas.

Felt the beauty of the vision,
Nebulae glowing in red of hydrogen,
Green of oxygen.

Dole’s water-world, swept by enormous tides twice daily,
Raised by its gas-giant, tide-locking primary.
Theoretical planet.

Sagan’s star made of diamond, his greenhouse Venus,
Bok and Bok’s starwheel, the great Milky Way
I, too, have seen at distance.

But Copernicus sang hymns and prayed at vespers.
Kepler cast horoscopes; wrote of dream travels.
Sagan did politics.

Astronomy studies the Universe, and
Nihil humanum me alienum puto.
This, too, is astronomy.
This world, the astronomers’ world.

Copyright © 2006, Barton Paul Levenson

Image Credit: Copyright © 2006, xb3 / Francis, some rights reserved

Barton Paul Levenson has a degree in physics and works as a computer programmer. Happily married to the genre poet Elizabeth Penrose, his being both a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat seems to confuse everybody. His work has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, Cricket, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and many small press markets. His novel, Year of the Human, is coming soon from Scrybe Press. He was prohibited from entering the Confluence Short Story Contest again after winning first prize two years in a row. Visit his website at: http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/.