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Walt Whitman 150 Years Ago

What happened 150 years ago?

1. The City of South Bend, IN, was incorporated May 22, 1865, for which it is having a year-long celebration ( and a giant birthday bash on Memorial Weekend 2015.

2. Starlight left Eltanin, the brightest star in the constellation Draco the Dragon, about 150 light years away, and that light is just now arriving in South Bend (see First Midnight).

3. Walt Whitman penned The Learn'd Astronomer, which appeared in Drum-Taps in 1865 and was again published in a later edition of Leaves of Grass.

In my websites and blogs and projects I've written a lot about the creep of light pollution and its impact on humans and the natural kingdom. Even I get tired of preaching to tired and indifferent ears. Instead, consider giving Walt Whitman a moment of your time. Then look up in perfect silence at the stars that remain.


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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