M31, the Andromeda GalaxyThrough the polished and sharpened glass
I have seen Andromeda,
too far away to fathom
to fully contemplate.
A more beautiful thing
than our own family of stars
having more intrigue
because we can see it whole—
a smudge of white, yet discernible
from the surrounding stars.
to comprehend its magnitude
at such an interminable distance.
Think on it hard—
any attempt to grasp it
leaves nothing to say
no comment or observation
no measuring of miles
would serve or suffice
the enormity of our vision.
All those years the light had to travel
to reach our eyes.

I want to see
what the men saw
who went to the moon.
Able to look back
and see the Earth whole
a ball in space
hanging beneath the sun
like the models we made as kids.
The blue and white
in stark contrast
to the black background of forever.

I squinted and shivered
in late fall
watching Mars
move across the field of vision
framed by the glass
seeing only a minute fraction
of its wider orbit
before my eyes.
I could not move
and I could not look away.

It is no small thing
to have had
some few precious moments
spent in looking far.
Into the deeper rhythms
by which planets and galaxies move—
rhythms calling to our imagination
and speaking to our hearts
showing us our true place.
It is no small thing
to have seen Andromeda.

Copyright © 2009, Michael Travisano

Image Credit: hisglassworks, some rights reserved

Michael Travisano has lived in the 'north country' for over 25 years and has worked in health care for over 30. Words and language are his passion, how they can be toys or tools, in the creation of meaning. The sky and the stars are commonly referred to in his work and not a day or night goes by without some long looking, if only to orient himself to the turning of the world. He lives with Hugo, the black dog, his partner and friend. They hike the countryside whenever they can, and he sleeps while Michael writes.