Hard going, yes, for an astronomer,
A man of science, the cold journey long.
Especially for three such as we were:
Scatterbrains, mooncalves, heads full of sphere-song,
Kings of forgotten realms, perhaps not extant
For all we knew. Applying esoteric terms
Of azimuths, nuances of the sextant,
To striking tents and goading pachyderms,
We lumbered day and night through desert places,
Incarcerated by pain, hunger, thirst,
Our one hope that hope held, in fact, no basis.
What doesn’t kill us only makes us stranger.
Among the oxen, sheep, and pigs, we cursed
Our charts, and stared, lost, starving, at the manger.

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