Galileo

The stars are fixed; they do not move.
Instead, what we call firmament
is just a shifting lens that’s bent
to suit the seasons. To approve
or disapprove such things is vain
and futile; our whole history,
that we would carve in stone and brick,
is but a wisp, a palimpsest,
that the next epoch writes anew.

And gods, if such are said to be,
perhaps employ more lasting inks
yet too will fade to faint indents
and leave no greater marks than men.

What once was center is now freed
and to circumference lays the lie;
great spheres of thought that wise men hold
more dear than life itself, deflate.

So what of fate, no more ordained
and best left to the seer’s glass?
What purpose do those notions serve
that would enslave the yearning mind?

We are in motion without end;
there is no point at which, full-stop,
the world could even for an hour
reflect upon its then-new state
so that an unseen force could smile
and praise his finished handiwork.

The stars are fixed; they do not move.
Instead, we hurl through space and time
in some eternal dance of life;
and no stiff doctrine made of men
has power to change the truth of it,
nor outraged, claim as heresy
what they, while blind, deny my eye.

05 APR 2005

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