Sculpting the Sky


             Gazing above at the heavens we love
             is like sculpting the sky with dreams.
             What it seems we know fades out in the glow
             of myriad stellary gleams.

             Stars interwoven with fugues Beethoven
             composed in his silence of sound
             reverberate through and beyond the blue
             as ethereal thoughts abound.

             Imaged with luster a huge star cluster
             presented of Westerlund Two
             is a Hubble gift that gives us a lift
             from our everyday earthly view.

             In a world prosaic, this mosaic
             transports us to realms exotic.
             Time loses its track as forward or back
             and we soar to heights quixotic.

             A tapestry forms mid galactic storms
             of sidereal flares to life
             with torrents of lights on glittering nights
             where pillarous visions are rife.

             Great inspirations from the creations
             of marvels in measureless skies
             spark us to seek past celestial mystique
             to infinite wherefores and whys.

             While totality of reality
             might escape our comprehensions,
             they say it’s very extraordinary
             to dwell in earthling dimensions.

             As with droplets of dew whose hours are few
             our death’s not far in the distance.
             Thus through the ages the wisest sages
             have urged us to prize existence.

             To be human born, those illumined warn,
             is not to be looked on lightly —
             lest we forget, there’ll be seas of regret,
             unless it is valued rightly.

             Could the vast tableaus the cosmos bestows
             awaken us to the rareness
             of our precious chance to take a true stance
             based on enlightened awareness?

             ~ Harley White


* * * * * * * * * *

Inspiration for the poem came from article ~ Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years of Unveiling the Universe, as well as from the writings of Daishōnin…

“The nebula [Westerlund 2] reveals a fantasy landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys. The pillars, composed of dense gas and thought to be incubators for new stars, are a few light-years tall and point to the central star cluster. Other dense regions surround the pillars, including reddish-brown filaments of gas and dust… The brilliant stars sculpt the gaseous terrain of the nebula and help create a successive generation of baby stars.”

A star cluster Westerlund 2 in the Milky Way galaxy, with an estimated age of about one or two million years. It contains some of the hottest, brightest, and most massive stars known. The cluster resides inside a stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina.


Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team

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