Adrift in Space and Time

(Gekürzte Version des Gedichst “Adrift in Space and Time” aus den Seven Secular Sermons von Daniel Böttger)

This meditation’s rhyming verse
describes a paradigm
of us inside this universe,
adrift in space and time.

Around us all and everyone
we’ve met or ever can,
extends the system of the Sun
that dwarfs all realms of man.

Out there, all human joy and strife
and knowledge matter not.
Out there, this fragile ball of life
is just a pale blue dot.

And there are other, bigger dots
and countless asteroids.
This Earth is one among a lot
around us in the void.

Yet all of them combined appear
like specks of dust compared
to one enormous blazing sphere,
the center that they share.

While outermost, in blackest night,
drift frozen rocks so far,
to them our splendid sphere of light
looks like another star.

And yet the Sun, though all must spin
around it, merely is
a rare domain of light within
a yawning black abyss.

In outer space surrounding us
lie distances too great
for us to easily discuss
or even contemplate.

For space is mostly nothingness
around us everywhere,
the freezing dark is limitless
in empty space out there.

The stars, these many tiny lights,
each are a blazing sun
and circling them, caught in their might,
are planets being spun.

The stars that shine all night and day
within or out of sight
are what our home, the Milky Way,
appears like from inside.

And all these suns are shining clear,
enormous and sublime.
They all are real here where we are
adrift in space and time.

And since the stars have made the clay
that led to our birth,
we’re children of the Milky Way,
as are the Sun and Earth.

We realize with utter awe
and know beyond all doubt:
Beyond this world are trillions more
that we could learn about.

The knowledge we are made of dust
compels us to admit
the Universe is in us just
as we are within it.

From here we may arise to see
and claim as our own
the secrets of reality
just waiting to be known.

And so we know the infinite
is absolutely real.
It’s here, it’s now, it’s intimate,
this vastness that we feel.

Whatever else is true for us,
we’ll always know this rhyme.
We’ll always know we’re made of dust
adrift in space and time.

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