Engraved Cosmic Hourglass


             The hollow hourglass runs its course
             as sands of time trickle on
             altering worlds in tour de force
             hither and thither and yon,

             to wit, by a number of means
             while time with its crystal ball
             oversees empyrean scenes
             in now and then curtain call.

             About eight thousand light-years far
             a nebula young was spun
             from out of dying low mass star,
             quite similar to our sun,

             that’s engraving its own demise
             with stellar wind that expands,
             thus creating the hourglass guise
             from intricate arc-like bands.

             The central astral object dense
             emits high-energy blast
             and has magnetic field intense
             from heavy elements massed.

             Particles trapped make flattened rings
             beaming light through power shift
             as time in ever-present flings
             bestows this galactic gift

             of insubstantial vision vast
             fashioned in sculptural mold
             reminiscent of hourglass cast
             which may each instant behold,

             by dint of seeming inner eye
             peering outward from within
             as a witness to passersby
             through the cosmic thick and thin.

             This cloud of gas in throes of death
             in two directions has shed
             its solar matter, life and breath,
             for arresting hourglass spread

             from three discrete pictures composed,
             ionized nitrogen, red,
             the oxygen blue hue disclosed;
             then both together were wed

             with hydrogen, green, for the third,
             in Wide Field, Hubble display
             of the hourglass image conferred
             to ‘tempus fugit’ portray.

             The constellation Musca, Fly,
             once known as Apis, ‘the bee’,
             is where within the southern sky
             this nebula faint to see

             was by two astronomers found,
             ladies, though few and between
             credited, with their names renowned
             for M y C n eighteen.

             Hubble revealed some features new
             like how twin oval loops cross
             midmost, which gazers could construe
             as if a visual gloss

             on the classic temporal theme
             showing hourglass rims petite,
             telescoped for surreal dream
             into version short and sweet.

             This etching appearing in space
             that’s celestially designed
             is wearing a timekeeper face
             whose mien might serve to remind

             that mortals live on borrowed time
             where death has the upper hand,
             so soon will come the midnight chime
             for the humble and the grand

             however proudly we parade
             our supremacy self-styled
             in mindless human escapade,
             while destroying nature’s wild.

             Yes, sands of time are running out,
             yet we can awaken still
             and make enlightened turnabout
             if it be our wish and will…

             To William Blake lines paraphrase,
             there’s ‘a world in grain of sand’,
             plus an earthly heaven to praise
             in our sylvan wonderland,

             for we hold eternity’s ways
             and all infinity spanned
             in every moment’s passing phase
             within true wisdom’s command.

             ~ Harley White

* * * * * * * * * *

Some sources of poetic inspiration were the following…

First lines from: ‘Auguries of Innocence’, by William Blake (1757 – 1827)...

Image and info ~ Engraved Hourglass Nebula on Wikipedia...

The Hourglass Nebula (MyCn-18)

Image and info ~ The Hourglass Nebula...

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 explanation ~ This Hubble image of MyCn18, aka, Engraved Hourglass Nebula, a young planetary nebula located about 8,000 light-years away, was taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). It reveals the true shape of MyCn18 to be an hourglass with an intricate pattern of ‘etchings’ in its walls. This picture has been composed from three separate images taken in the light of ionized nitrogen (represented by red), hydrogen (green), and doubly-ionized oxygen (blue).

The Hourglass Nebula

Credit: Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger (JPL), the WFPC2 science team, and NASA/ESA

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