Over this cold December night
burn the stars. They do not warm me.
Yet I seek them out, night after night.
I call them by familiar names:
Capella, Algol, Procyon,
Orion, Taurus, Andromeda -
friends of mine, exuberant shapes,
couriers from the distant past!
how goes it, watchfires, posted so
close to the rim? You do not say.
Perhaps the null quanta of death
speed to me still from light-years away.
Yet I extend myself to you,
I, an unread Babylonian,
I, Galileo Galilei,
I, Magellan of the Milky Way.
Guttering suns, world furnaces,
wildfire loose on the plains at night!
How can such radiance seem so cold?
Stop feigning this blazing indifference.
Still on they go, these juggernauts,
leaving me gawking through my own breath.
They spatter my pupils with silver;
their diamond edges drill the dark.