A solar system where the space
Itself is threatening, the space
Between planets, at opposite ends
Of their orbits. I am rooted in one place,
In Planet X, I despise
Every tumbling asteroid
And I am mixed with empty hate
And I am tumbling in the void.
The captain of the expedition
Wants to be everywhere,
He wants to be Shakleton
And Captain Kirk, a debonair
Livingstone, if you wish to explore
The Delaware, the antipodes,
And you cannot stay on Carroll Street
Or go native with the Balinese,
Your starship will shake, your bathysphere
Will sink in murky brine and you
Will see the giant squid, or else,
Upon a crag in Manaslu,
The leaden clouds will press upon
Your hammock, the vulture will hover,
The ultraviolet rays will streak
Ferociously, and you will discover
A fearful contemplation, a question,
“Where am I?” and think, “All
Of these wonders are greater than I am,
I shrink beneath the wind and snowfall.”
We tumbled into the ravine.
But we’ll get out. Scraped, banged up,
And with a knock on the head that makes you think,
“Who did this? Really, what’s the setup?
“My gosh, I want to have some facts!
I’ll go straight to the top. See if I don’t!”
A wind sweeps down from the hills,
The trees bend, and those that won’t
Snap, their sharp shards look foreign
When the sun comes out. The ants are back,
Repairing their work, the sticklebacks
Are hungry, the boys leap in the haystack.
Yaacov David Shulman