There was a time when men could see the sky,
A grand cathedral vaulted and ablaze
With myriad candles lifted up on high
By nights for vespers; in the brighter days,
The great rose window eastward shed its rays
For morning prayer, and each and every flame
Burned elegant in litanies of praise,
In fugues and canons to extol the Name.
But now the sky, though larger, is more tame,
And modern man sees what he's taught to see:
Though multiplied toward infinity;
And quarks and quasars cannot speak to us
Except as agitated forms of dust.
Except as agitated forms of dust,
We don't know how to know the thing we are:
The biochemistry of love is lust
As an atomic furnace is a star,
And all that's known is particles at war.
And yet we do know love, and yet we know
That it and lust are infinitely far
Apart. We know the stars and how they glow,
Though they know nothing of us here below.
So, even while we're slogging through the mire,
We cannot help ourselves, but as we go,
We cock our heads to listen for the choir.
We know that half the truth is half a lie:
There was a time when men could see the sky.
---Donald T. Williams