There is a small science mistake, not part of the original poem. In the introduction, I say that Sgr A* (Sagittarius A Star) is the name of the super-massive black hole at the center of our universe. Sgr A* is at the center of our galaxy, not our universe. MY B, Y'ALL.
I’ve got friends who like to smoke cigars
I’ve got friends who like to drink rum out of mason jars
And I’ve got friends who, on dark, dark nights,
Like to lie outside on the grass and look at the stars
These are the sort of nights that I crave, especially walking between classes on bright spring days, a balm to soothe the burn of existential malaise.
I don’t think I’m the only one who feels the sear of the daylight hours,
I’ve got friends who fear the steady power of the sun traversing the blue sky
Counting down time until we’ll have to make decisions and try and maybe fail.
I’ve got friends who get scared when they think of their plans
I’ve got friends who look down and doubt that their hands
Will build a living for them, or that they will ever touch satisfaction
And I look down and think about what to say, and
I tell them this:
Out in space there are clouds of dust, and gas called dark nebulae,
That are too dense to see through,
But inside they are filled with thousands of infant stars trying to sum up the courage to become real.
In a process that takes thousands of years,
They collapse in on themselves and expand and condense,
Until after eons of turmoil,
They finally find a balance between the gravity compressing them from the outside
And the pressure pushing out from within.
That’s when fusion begins, and their brightness can no longer be contained
And their light literally pushes clouds away,
They join their compatriots on the main sequence and live out their lives.
I’ve got friends who are afraid that they’ll never say anything original or real, and
I say maybe, I do understand how you feel,
But the first light came from massive stars that died so long ago that none remain, and when they exploded they seeded space
With every trace of elements that now exist, every star since
Has sprouted from their waste, and
Just because these stars weren’t first doesn’t make them not new,
Just because their light is an echo doesn’t mean it can’t bloom
And illuminate the dark
I’ve got friends who think that they’ll never get it together, who know it won’t be enough to look cute and act clever, but I tell them too, that
When you look closely enough at the sun, neither mass nor energy are conserved, science itself is somewhat absurd, just thousands of years of progress to describe a best fit line, and if that isn’t beautiful I don’t know what is
The best is knowing that even experts are guessing just a little bit better than you so guess what it’s okay if you do too,
I know sometimes it feels like the future is a black hole and
We’ve crossed the event horizon, and there’s no escape
Like our fate is to be stretched out like noodles until we finally break,
Our atoms torn apart like broken hearts,
But space-time is relative and so is angst
Someday you might give thanks for the strain because it made you shine brighter
Our limits are nothing to be frightened of, stars are finite too,
I want you to look out into space and know there is a place for you,
Things might seem scary when the only constant is change,
But even though no two stars are the same,
I can look up and promise
That you’ll be okay.
- Elizabeth E. Norman
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