The planet of Nothing fills the sky, and
a philosopher goes out and admires that
greatest of all discoveries in the heavens.
Even the rest of us, now and then we
fall outward and on into that glorious
hole where all of us really are.
But mostly we look steadily at the
stars, and when we meet someone
we say, "Have a good day."
There is nothing greater than Nothing. I get a strong sense of peace from this Nothing that Stafford writes about. The core of this poem is realization that everything is together. That "Nothing" is a realization. As he puts it, "now and then we / fall outward and on into that glorious / hole where all of us really are." That Nothing is absence of ego and of any worldly connection. It reminds me of a great many spiritual concepts across cultural traditions of becoming at peace with oneself and the world.
Mostly, when we look up, we "look steadily at the stars" and miss the great Nothing enveloping them, that "planet of Nothing" which fills the sky. We make small talk with one another instead of sharing the world's beauty and wisdom. We say "How are you?" without ever meaning it and "Have a good day" without caring if the recipient does. I think Stafford wants us to see and notice that "Nothing" all around us and embrace it.