Featured Poem: When I heard the learn’d astronomer by Walt Whitman

This week our Featured Poem comes from the great American poet Walt Whitman, When I heard the learn’d astronomer.

After an extended break, sifting through the archives for some poetic pleasure, we’re happy to be back into the swing of our weekly Featured Poem with a classic.

Walt Whitman is a favourite here on The Reader blog, and yes, we confess, When I heard the learn’d astronomer has graced these pages before, but we think it worth revisiting.

With New Year’s resolutions and fresh starts in mind, how lovely to step away from screens and yes, even books, to take a wintry walk in the great outdoor and appreciate things for what they are.

We will of course, always champion reading for pleasure, but don’t forget to step away from all life’s distractions now and again and just be, whether it’s stargazing “In the mystical moist night-air”, people-watching in the city or just soaking up a good view in the local park.

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 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,
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.
Walt Whitman

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