In California I stood beneath
a tree of the highest rank of all.
Down among dead leaves and dust I saw
a quarter glint which someone looking up
had fumbled and let fall.
I gave my mind to things of consequence –
the height of the sequoia;
distance of the sun; the speed of light;
and how the universe goes on and on
until there’s nothing there at all.
But meanwhile at my feet there lay
an artefact more eloquent
than anything that’s yet been scanned
in all their crossings of the sky
by missions from Canaveral.
I leant and picked the quarter up
and pocketed In God We Trust,
deciding I’d no time to waste
on thinking of the universe’s
endless outward thrust and sprawl.
– David Morphet 2005