Skylab

Rolf Jacobsen
We've come so far, thought the astronaut
as he swam around the capsule in his third week
and by accident kicked a god in the eye
--so far
that there's no difference anymore between up and down,
north and south, heavy and light.
And how, then, can we know righteousness.

So far. 
And weightless, in a sealed room
we chase the sunrises at high speed
and sicken with longing for a green stalk
or the heft of something in our hands. Lifting a stone. 

One night he saw that the Earth was like an open eye
that looked at him as gravely as the eye of a child
awakened in the middle of the night. 

From North in the World: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen, translated and edited by Roger Greenwald. Translation © 2002 by Roger Greenwald. Reprinted by permission of the University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

Rolf Jacobsen