Empyreal Medusa


             Medusa Nebula, serpentine haired,
             has never appeared more stunning,
             not the mortal terror Perseus dared
             to behead through fearless cunning.

             Indeed it’s the death of a star we see
             fifteen hundred light-years away
             depicted in dying multi-hued spree
             of layers ejected astray..

             Those gorgeously colored filament strands
             the constellation possesses
             in the Gemini twins’ heavenly hands
             resemble sinuous tresses.

             The ‘snakes’ are gas glowing in crescent shape
             representing Medusa’s locks,
             which extend beyond the chromatic scape
             to frame her coiffure’s ‘dreadful’ shocks.

             Hydrogen shows red, the oxygen green,
             as stellar mass is ejected,
             the latter of doubly ionized sheen,
             so astronomers detected.

             By Abell in nineteen fifty-five found,
             it bears his own title besides
             of Abell twenty-one, though more renowned
             with label the fable provides.

             Medusa’s actual derivation
             protectress or guardian meant,
             yet this monster might seem a damnation
             rather than creature heaven-sent.

             A Gorgon, she in mythology Greek
             was one of three sisters, well-known
             for a gaze so potent that just a peek
             could turn the beholder to stone.

             The version by Ovid was licentious
             in Roman tale of later date,
             which in modern times became contentious
             since she suffered an unfair fate

             because of the goddess Athena’s ire
             at what was not Medusa’s fault
             although punished with consequences dire
             for Neptune’s sexual assault—

             Poseidon being the god’s Grecian name
             whose lust within the temple prime
             of Athena caused that goddess to blame
             the very victim of his crime,

             (‘twas Minerva’s shrine in Ovid’s account).
             But while some myths may be passť,
             they’re still an important cultural fount
             that last in legends to this day.

             It is evidenced by Medusa’s tag
             for nebula planetary,
             itself a misnomer for which time lag
             quite lengthy proved necessary

             to better observe what Herschel had spied
             who thought they looked like giants gas,
             albeit planets in no way are tied
             with how such clouds have come to pass.

             In approximately five billion years
             the Sun will a nebula make.
             Might space-gazers marvel in far-off spheres
             at the wondrous form it will take?

             Stars can be beauteous when they expire.
             The light on which our Earth depends
             will swell to enormous red giant’s fire
             then shrink to white dwarf, as it ends

             with a splendid kaleidoscopic splurge
             as mass expulsion reaches peak
             till from radiant lantern will emerge
             the Sun’s own nebula unique,

             predominantly blue-green it’s believed
             that may dazzle different eyes
             or via whatever senses perceived
             its novel sidereal guise,

             evocative of Medusa perhaps
             when through all its fuel it burns,
             for ultimately our Sol will collapse;
             thus a cycle’s existence turns.

             This would be our Sun’s final bow on stage
             with humankind’s long past demise,
             as the cosmos vast writes another page,
             wherein new creations arise,

             to fulfill their role in the onward flow
             eternal of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo…

             ~ Harley White

* * * * * * * * * *

Some sources of poetic inspiration were the following…

Image and info ~ ESO’s VLT Sees Beautiful Medusa Nebula...

Close-up pan video showing the Medusa Nebula...

Medusa in mythology on Wikipedia...

Further inspiration derived from the teachings and writings of Nichiren Daishōnin…

Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam[u]) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) [entirety of existence, enlightenment and unenlightenment] permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten [psychological] realms of dharmas [which is every possible psychological wavelength] (Kyō).

The reason that we continually recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō

Image and info ~ ESO’s Very Large Telescope images the Medusa Nebula...

Image explanation ~ ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile has captured the most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula (also known Abell 21 and Sharpless 2-274). As the star at the heart of this nebula made its final transition into retirement, it shed its outer layers into space, forming this colorful cloud. The image foreshadows the final fate of the Sun, which will eventually also become an object of this kind.

Medusa Nebula

Credit: ESO

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