Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.
180. When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer
|WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;|
|When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;|
|When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;|
|When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,|
|How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;||5|
|Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,|
|In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,|
|Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.|
I've been reading Psalms lately and God's creation is a mystery to me. I have so many questions and very few answers. What is God's plan for this universe? What are God's plans for my family? How do I fit in to such a grand scheme? A scheme that encompasses all of creation from the stars in the sky to each newborn child:
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139, New International Version, ©2011)