Barometric Man

Twelve foot’s the rise and fall
Of barometric Man
Where he may compass all
The prodigies he can.

Through cyclic death and birth
He treads a crippling round –
Six foot above the earth
And six foot underground.

The earth is mortal stuff.
I startle with my spade
The molecules whereof
My children shall be made.

And atoms that are me
This contract shall rescind
To feed the rooted tree
Or fertilize the wind.

This ceiling of our flight
This flow of our descent –
We ask, as well we might,
What likely end was meant.

But some protest that here
Is room enough, and Day
For man in his true sphere
Is absolute: They say

For this a man is born
A universe begun
For this our Earth was torn
A live rib of the Sun.

Poems of Nature