You ponder the expanse of the Great Plains
measured against the earth (which in a day
drifts millions of miles), then looking farther away
at Jupiter, you see its smallest stains
can swallow earth and moon combined. The pains
you take to grasp infinity just may
yield whys and wherefores by the truckload. Play
with facts and figures, sometimes wisdom's rains
come pouring down. But nature mostly leaves
you baffled as an earless bat. Old suns
and newborn suns, imponderable sheaves
of stuff out there, like molecules of breath,
disperse. You probe the cosmos as it runs
its course, and know its birth is in its death.
Martin Elster, author of There's a Dog in the Heavens!, serves as percussionist for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and is a composer; his poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies.