when poetry astonished the ear,
yet astronomy, physics, and chemistry
now pioneer that frontier.
Mathematics has overshadowed metaphor.
A poet may recollect a full moon,
but satellites can map
the dark side of the moon.
A poet can describe sunlight on a lily,
yet astronomy can describe a black hole
devouring a sun larger than our own
while telescopes provide the picture.
A nuclear bomb is mightier than a pen.
Although the pen might still be
mightier than an antique sword,
the pen is no longer a mythical axis,
although the pen still records conscience,
the dignity of humankind,
as well as its shame.
The pen retains
that frank, pithy power
of what’s personal.
A pen can still limn
the shadow of a petal,
stamen of flower.