A stunning bit of stargazing, it is, in the poem, “Ah, Moon – and Star!” by Emily Dickinson. Who hasn’t taken their breaking heart, over a stubbornly unpredictable lover, outside on a starry night?

I’m not minimizing how effectively the poem articulates the sense of distance and longing between separated lovers.

Ah, Moon – and Star!
You are very far –
But were no one
Farther than you –
Do you think I’d stop
For a Firmament –
Or a Cubit – or so?

I could borrow a Bonnet
Of the Lark –
And a Chamois’ Silver Boot –
And a stirrup of an Antelope –
And be with you – Tonight!

But, Moon, and Star,
Though you’re very far –
There is one – farther than you –
He – is more than a firmament – from Me –
So I can never go!

Even if I could fly, “I could borrow a Bonnet – of the Lark -”, it wouldn’t take away the power of separation between me and someone I love. A Chamois is an extremely agile goat antelope of mountainous regions of Europe, having upright horns with backward-hooked tips. An animal that personifies agility in difficult terrain. If I picture myself “borrowing” the surefooted Chamois or an antelope, in order to “leap” beyond the confines of reality, “And leap to you – tonight!” I realize the fierce imagination of the poet. By reading the poem I borrow the fantasy.

I wonder, too, if astronomers don’t occasionally gaze with love at the subjects of their study. Centuries have accumulated history books. Science its calculations. Botanists and biologists have puzzled over the influence of the tides and their forces. And, more often than not, ending up with wistful contemplation of the magnitude of the network between the heavens and earth. Between galaxies.

Poetry is, in the final analysis, the best language. Is it not?

Digest A Poem A Day – Accept What Comes Your Way

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