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Skylab

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.

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