The Spindle Galaxy’s fittingly named,
though termed NGC 5866,
as seen from the edge-on images famed
in iconic astronomic pics
with shape of dinner plate viewed from the side
in a state of spatial flotation
by means of the Hubble telescope eyed
as disk in Draco constellation
of classification lenticular
or ellipse and a spiral between
in morphology speech curricular
for astral groupings on cosmic screen.
It’s forty-four million light years from Earth,
sixty thousand in diameter,
possessing evocative spindly girth
that lends a haunting parameter.
There’s a bit of warp in the dusty lane,
uncommon for this formation type,
with system appearing severed in twain,
transparently haloed round the stripe
running parallel, from our line of sight
in the structure’s striking portrayal,
along the blue stellar nucleus bright
visualized with vivid detail.
Star clusters bound gravitationally
show in aureole outer as dots,
stelliferous each foundationally,
plus in background more galactic spots.
Numerous filaments wispy of dust
into the nimbus are wandering.
With astral birthings not being robust,
Hubble’s optics cleared up pondering,
by revealing that objects such as these
can have their own slender protrusions,
which leads my stargazing fancies to seize
upon ‘Sleeping Beauty’ allusions.
Like ‘cloths of heaven’ where princesses tread,
to quote from the poet Yeats a phrase,
the spinners of fables whirl out their thread
with the enchantment of dreamy ways.
Spindles are symbols for coming of age
in the realm of femininity,
encountered on many a storied page
of fairy tale lore affinity,
given interpretations that vary,
subject to what the analysts feel,
broadly imagined or arbitrary,
plus often joined with the spinning wheel.
In the legend of ‘Little Briar Rose’,
though as ‘Sleepy Beauty’ better known,
each fairy with gifts the infant bestows
for destiny high on fortune’s throne.
Yet one uninvited causes a curse
that to die quite young will be her fate,
which another later tries to reverse
but can only partially negate.
Thus the altered malediction foretold
a less catastrophic occurrence,
nonetheless predetermined to unfold
no matter the steps for deterrence.
As she pricks her finger on a spindle,
a deathly sleep shall overtake her.
In a hundred years, life will rekindle,
when a king’s son comes to awake her.
Albeit a royal proclamation
prohibiting any such device
was forthwith issued throughout the nation,
no expedient means could suffice.
For the restless psyche of the young maid
bade her to open each portal shut.
Up the winding tower staircase she strayed,
in search of something she knew not what.
An old lady sat in the topmost room,
a spinster spinning to be exact,
twirling yarn fibers in the darkened gloom,
a task that did not fail to attract.—
Here I’ll note etymologically,
‘spinster’, to those who spin, once referred,
neither sex physiologically,
since ‘spinstress’ for females was a word.—
The princess impelled by the trance, alas,
requested to try her hand at it.
So the dreaded prediction came to pass,
as in the classic story was writ.
She speared her finger and fell in a swoon
from the poisons of that spindle prick,
trapped in suspension for many a moon,
while time to a standstill seemed to tick…
Senseless she lay as the courtiers rushed
to her side in tears that tragic morn.
The winds and waters their whisperings hushed,
as all around grew thicket and thorn.
Because inconsolable was their grief,
the good fairy cast a sandman spell
for the mournful mortals to bring relief.
Then mercifully they slept as well.
In the second part, the versions diverge
or end soon after the king son’s kiss,
when signs of vitality re-emerge
with the lovers enveloped in bliss.
But during the century of her sleep,
while latent in the tower she lay
midst that unknown region of darkness deep,
what dreams held the princess in their sway?
The fairytale ending with kiss of prince
could strike one as anticlimactic
following decades of somnolence, since
that awakening seems galactic.
Was it like eons of dreams within dream
evermore from womb to tomb recast
as principal role in a mythic theme,
till she woke up, enlightened at last?
And might such a dormancy signify
the stupor of people’s delusion,
with existence that fails to dignify
or elucidate our confusion?
Yes there’s more to the tale than meets the eye,
at any rate in my opinion,
as is so with that spindle in the sky
with its vast celestial dominion.
Out of all time and space, we are dwelling
on this terrestrial spinning sphere
with mankind’s story still in the telling…
Will humans awaken while they’re here?
As for me, I’ll follow the cosmic flow,
on the path of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo…
~ Harley White
* * * * * * * * * *
Inspiration derived from the following sources as well as others…
Image and explanation ~ Hubble Sees Galaxy on Edge...
Image and explanation ~ Messier 102 (The Spindle Galaxy)...
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 is a unique NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope view of the disk galaxy NGC 5866 tilted nearly edge-on to our line-of-sight. Hubble’s sharp vision reveals a crisp dust lane dividing the galaxy into two halves. The image highlights the galaxy’s structure: a subtle, reddish bulge surrounding a bright nucleus, a blue disk of stars running parallel to the dust lane, and a transparent outer halo. Some faint, wispy trails of dust can be seen meandering away from the disk of the galaxy out into the bulge and inner halo of the galaxy. The outer halo is dotted with numerous gravitationally bound clusters of nearly a million stars each, known as globular clusters. Background galaxies that are millions to billions of light-years farther away than NGC 5866 are also seen through the halo. NGC 5866 is a disk galaxy of type “S0” (pronounced s-zero). Viewed face on, it would look like a smooth, flat disk with little spiral structure. It remains in the spiral category because of the flatness of the main disk of stars as opposed to the more spherically rotund (or ellipsoidal) class of galaxies called “ellipticals”. Such S0 galaxies, with disks like spirals and large bulges like ellipticals, are called ‘lenticular’ galaxies. NGC 5866 lies in the Northern constellation Draco, at a distance of 44 million light-years. It has a diameter of roughly 60,000 light-years only two-thirds the diameter of the Milky Way, although its mass is similar to our galaxy. This Hubble image of NGC 5866 is a combination of blue, green and red observations taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in February 2006.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
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