Poetry Sunday

April is National Poetry Month, so the Theodore Parker Church in West Roxbury, Massachusetts makes its first Sunday “Poetry Sunday”.  After a little practice reading poetry in public at the Longfellow House National Historic Site at the first Thursday Brown Bag Poetry Lunch, I put together a poem from my favorite poet which is somewhat pessimistic about our place in the universe with a response provoked by some events of the past few weeks, one of which is significant to me and one of which helps us understand how the Big Bang happened.

from “Margrave“, by Robinson Jeffers, from “Thurso’s Landing and Other Poems”, 1932

The earth was the world and man was its measure, but our minds have looked
Through the little mock-dome of heaven the telescope-slotted observatory eyball, there space and multitude came in
And the earth is a particle of dust by a sand-grain sun, lost in a nameless cove of the shores of a continent.
Galaxy on galaxy, innumerable swirls of innumerable stars, endurd as it were forever and humanity
Came into being, its two or three million years are a moment, in a moment it will certainly cease out from being
And galaxy on galaxy endure after that as it were forever…


Jessica with bangs

“Bangs” by Jessica Mink, 2014

How do I measure my place in such a universe?
Days after a change in hairstyle for which I’ve waited years,
Came new observations of the  beginning our universe?

How do I measure my place in such a universe?
The space and time through which I bike in a day, or in one life?
Or swimming through the words of great thinkers of our past like Theodore Parker or Plato?

How do I measure my place in such a universe?
Knowing we’re on one of many planets circling one of many stars,
in one of many galaxies, in one of many universes,
In the end, is there any practical difference in scale between our universe and ourselves?

So the best we can do is to inhabit our own world,
To make our selves the best we can be,
To share with those who inhabit our tiny part of space,
And together make our own purpose.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

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