When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer – Walt Whitman: Breaking Bad

by N. E. Skull

David Costabile played lovable loser Gale Boetticher on everyone’s favourite show; Breaking Bad. (Maybe not everyone’s, but if you’re going to watch a show about a high school chemistry teacher who decides to start selling meth, it should be this one.)

Gale, a self-proclaimed nerd, is a lover of Walt Whitman, and one afternoon he recites one of Whitman’s poems to Walter White.

When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

– Walt Whitman