a million billion trillion stars

This image captured by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) highlights the Small Magellanic Cloud.  Also known as NGC 292, the Small Magellanic Cloud is a small galaxy about 200,000 light-years away.

A Man Who Had Fallen Among Thieves
By E.E. Cummings

A man who had fallen among thieves
lay by the roadside on his back
dressed in fifteenthrate ideas
wearing a round jeer for a hat

fate per a somewhat more than less
emancipated evening
had in return for consciousness
endowed him with a changeless grin

whereon a dozen staunch and Meal
citizens did graze at pause
then fired by hypercivic zeal
sought newer pastures or because

swaddled with a frozen brook
of pinkest vomit out of eyes
which noticed nobody he looked
as if he did not care to rise

one hand did nothing on the vest
its wideflung friend clenched weakly dirt
while the mute trouserfly confessed
a button solemnly inert.

Brushing from whom the stiffened puke
i put him all into my arms
and staggered banged with terror through
a million billion trillion stars

I read this poem on another blog a few years ago and fell in love with it, mostly because of the last stanza. We like to think people would never leave someone on the roadside drowning in their troubles, but it happens. I don’t think this is because people are necessarily thoughtless; maybe they just don’t know how to help or what to do. I like the idea of a person brushing the stiffened puke off this fallen man, putting him in his arms, and carrying him through a million billion trillion stars. We’ve all fallen at some point and we’re lucky if we have someone pick us up again, stagger and bang through the terror and help us see the stars.

Photo by Space Dynamics Laboratory

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