Galileo, the clergy maintained,
was a pernicious and stubborn man.
But time has a way of demonstrating
the most stubborn are the most intelligent.
In Galileo's day, a fellow scientist
was no more stupid than Galileo.
He was well aware the earth revolved,
but he also had a large family to feed.
Stepping into a carriage with his wife,
after effecting his betrayal,
he believed he was launched on a career,
though he was undermining it in reality.
Galileo alone had risked asserting
the truth about our planet,
and this made him a great man... His was
a genuine career as I understand it.
I salute then a career,
when the career is akin to
that of a Shakespeare or Pasteur,
a Newton or Tolstoy- Leo!
Why did people fling mud at them all?
Talent speaks for itself, whatever the charges.
We've forgotten the men who abused them,
Remember only the victims of slander.
All who rushed into the stratosphere,
the doctors who perished fighting cholera,
were, all of them, men of career!
I take their careers as my example!
I believe in their sacred faith.
Their faith is my very manhood.
I shall therefore pursue my career
by trying not to pursue one.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko's Other Poems
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