What do they have that makes us worship them,
All those august men, calm in hose and robe:
Copernicus, his hand athwart the globe,
Or Newton, piling theorem on theorem?
Mute Galileo stands, and yet he moves!
What force has he that we mere mortals lack?
Or Gutenberg: his hand cranks out the stack
By which we swear how much our lot improves.
Marconi’s voice is heard no more, and Baird
Does not appear upon our flickering screen.
And yet through them our common life is shared,
The mirror of ourselves so clearly seen.
And all the praise of A. G. Bell we sing
Is carried on the wires he helped to string.
June 16, 1994
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