Watching tonight's total lunar eclipse, as watching birds and other natural wonders often does, provoked thoughts and speculations about the universe and our place in it. A major event happened, and we had nothing to do with it, but at least we got to watch it. Thomas Hardy, watching almost a century ago, expressed some thoughts that seem to fit our time, also.
AT A LUNAR ECLIPSE
Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea,
Now steals along upon the Moon's meek shine
In even monochrome and curving line
Of imperturbable serenity.
How shall I link such sun-cast symmetry
With the torn troubled form I know as thine,
That profile, placid as a brow divine,
With continents of moil and misery?
And can immense Mortality but throw
So small a shade, and Heaven's high human scheme
Be hemmed within the coasts yon arc implies?
Is such the stellar gauge of earthly show,
Nation at war with nation, brains that teem,
Heroes, and women fairer than the skies?
By Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)