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Amateurs of Heaven

 Two lovers to a midnight meadow came
High in the hills, to lie there hand and hand
Like effigies and look up at the stars,
The never-setting ones set in the North
To circle the Pole in idiot majesty,
And wonder what was given them to wonder.
Being amateurs, they knew some of the names By rote, and could attach the names to stars And draw the lines invisible between That humbled all the heavenly things to farm And forest things and even kitchen things, A bear, a wagon, a long handled ladle; Could wonder at the shadow of the world That brought those lights to light, could wonder too At the ancestral eyes and the dark mind Behind them that had reached the length of light To name the stars and draw the animals And other stuff that dangled in the height, Or was it the deep? Did they look in Or out, the lovers? till they grew bored As even lovers will, and got up to go, But drunken now, with staggering and dizziness, Because the spell of earth had moved them so, Hallucinating that the heavens moved.

Poem by Howard Nemerov
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