Ernesto Cardenal's
 Translated from the Spanish 
by Jonathan Cohen

What’s in a star? We are.
All the elements of our body and of the planet
were once in the belly of a star.
            We are stardust.
15,000,000,000 years ago we were a mass
of hydrogen floating in space, turning slowly, dancing.
            And the gas condensed more and more
            gaining increasingly more mass
            and mass became star and began to shine.
As they condensed they grew hot and bright.
Gravitation produced thermal energy: light and heat.
That is to say love.
                        Stars were born, grew, and died.
And the galaxy was taking the shape of a flower
the way it looks now on a starry night.
Our flesh and our bones come from other stars
and perhaps even from other galaxies,
we are universal,
and after death we will help to form other stars
and other galaxies.
            We come from the stars, and to them we shall return.

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