Penciled Ponderings


              Midst photographs that ‘changed the world’
              I spied the Nebula Pencil
              with linear shape wooden burled
              evoking writing utensil.

              This filament cloud far-ranging
              in Vela ‘Sails’ constellation,
              said the caption, showed ‘world changing’
              since explosive star creation.

              But as more pictures were perused
              I grew disheartened with sadness
              sinking into despair, bemused
              by our species’ ways of madness.

              Diversified illustrations
              of deeds historic or horrid
              depicted human relations
              shockingly callous to torrid.

              My spirits plunged in grief profound
              when I saw a starving child slumped
              emaciated to the ground
              where nearby vulture waited humped.

              The awful vision held me tranced
              in tragedy of that being
              immortalized by shutter’s glance
              for future beholders’ seeing.

              Still by atrocity haunted
              I turned my attention away
              from those impressions that taunted
              what flowery words I would say.

              As tears welled up, I raised my gaze
              to the firmament overhead
              whelming myself in cosmic maze
              where starry splendors round me spread.

              An author’s tool seemed apropos
              for scripting sidereal piece
              of an empyrean tableau,
              granting troubles a brief surcease.

              Pencils enjoy a cherished place
              as symbol of creative muse.
              Thus, finding one in outer space
              was lyric task I had to choose.

              Part of supernova shock wave,
              NGC Two Seven Three Six
              has remnants from the burst that gave
              it wispy aspect to transfix

              of a rippled gaseous sheet
              that’s undulating threadily
              and from the blast’s initial heat
              has been cooling down steadily.

              A picture’s worth a thousand words
              while the pen is mighty as well,
              whether one minds the ‘rule of thirds’
              or composes a villanelle.

              As poets may versify thought,
              photographs images capture.
              Both arts our humanness have wrought
              from deepest despair to rapture.

              This glowing formation highlights,
              in my view, an essential goal
              I wish to keep within my sights—
              to awaken the heart and soul.

              The heavens enhance awareness
              plus make us perceive our smallness,
              perchance in grasping life’s rareness
              or sensing the utter allness.

              We’re lent this earth to wander on
              through mortal lives whence home is based.
              Wisdom abounds to ponder on
              yet our surroundings we lay waste,

              where trills the wondrous whippoorwill
              from sunsets gold to coral dawns
              and blushing lady’s slippers still
              enchant the afternoons of fauns.

              How can good fortune’s smile remain
              on land and sea, o’er hill and dale,
              when mankind loses touch humane,
              with appetites beyond the pale?

              Neither can I be reconciled
              by mollifying phrases mild
              to damage done in nature’s wild,
              nor evermore forget that child.

              ~ Harley White


* * * * * * * * * *

Inspiration from the following articles plus other sources: ~ The Pencil Nebula: Remnants of an Exploded Star (NGC 2736) with image for downloading, ~ Pencil Nebula Scribbles Notes from Past, ~ NGC 2736 in Wikipedia, ~ image of Pencil Nebula in Wikipedia, ~ video Zooming in on the Pencil Nebula.

The Pencil Nebula was last in a series called LIFE [Magazine] 100 Photographs That Changed the World. Information not included in the LIFE series is in Wikipedia article The vulture and the little girl. “The vulture and the little girl is a noted photograph by Kevin Carter which was sold to and appeared (for the first time) in The New York Times on 26 March 1993. It is a photograph of a frail famine-stricken girl collapsed in the foreground with a vulture eyeing her from nearby…”

~ Rule of Thirds.

~ L’après-midi d’un faune (or “The Afternoon of a Faun”), final text published in 1876, is a poem by the French author Stéphane Mallarmé.

~ Translation by A. S. Kline of L’après-midi d’un faune.

Inspiration also derived from “The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography” ~ “What I Have Lived For”.

“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair…” ~ Bertrand Russell

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

Remnants from a star that exploded thousands of years ago created a celestial abstract portrait, as captured in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Pencil Nebula.

Red Rectangle

Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: W. Blair (JHU) and D. Malin (David Malin Images)

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