None of us understood the dark secret of the blackboards
nor why the armillary sphere seemed so remote when we looked
We knew only that a circumference does not have to round
and that an eclipse of the moon confuses the flowers
and speeds up the timing of birds.
None of us understood anything:
not even why our fingers were made of India ink
and the afternoon closed compasses only to have the dawn open
We knew only that a straight line, if it likes, can be curved or
and that the wandering stars are children who don't know
* * *
"The Grade School Angels" by Raphael Alberti, from The Owl's Insomnia, translated by Mark Strand. Reprinted by permission of Mark Strand.