Cosmic Skyscape


             In my meanders high above
             beyond the cries of mourning dove
             on voyages a spaceship flies
             where poets’ reveries arise,

             I happened on a cloudy scape,
             phantasmagorical in shape,
             framing vista topsy-turvy
             mountainous with billows curvy,

             sculpted from the dust and gases,
             that a nebula amasses
             to craft a scene ethereal
             through art of winds sidereal

             together with radiation
             of newborn stars’ emanation
             which these astral infants fashion
             from the heat of birthing passion.

             NGC 2174,
             known as “Monkey Head” furthermore,
             is where we find these summits tall
             near its edge in a portion small.

             Speaking in terms astronomic,
             the emissions are ionic
             to make this interstellar cast
             which is being eroded fast

             by an active astral cluster
             exerting terrific bluster
             in race to see which starry knots
             can bear their babies as ‘begots’

             before giant gusts have blown them
             and utterly overthrown them.
             When the view is rotated right
             it possesses resemblance slight

             to Hokusai’s famed woodblock print
             “The Great Wave”, with historic hint
             as to force of raging ocean
             felt in Japan with emotion,

             being a country surrounded
             by the briny deep unbounded.
             “La Mer” which Debussy composed
             was influenced, it’s been disclosed,

             by that work— but I’ve been straying
             from the image we’re surveying.
             Carved by ultraviolet light,
             it glows against the vapors bright

             of this silhouetted region,
             factory for starry legion,
             through dust creating astral peers
             in the making millions of years.

             Oddly all that enthusiasm
             turns into devastating spasm,
             a self-destructive spectacle,
             as lesson dialectical.

             The setting of this formation
             is Orion constellation
             on celestial equator found,
             mythicized in his stomping ground

             as an animal slayer fierce,
             in legend killed by arrow’s pierce,
             or maybe by scorpion’s sting
             due to his boastful swaggering.

             That hunter of the beasts unfurled
             is seen in skies around the world.
             Orion an asterism wears
             in stellar belt— the cincture bears

             a triad named for string of pearls
             fit for aristocratic girls.
             Lord Tennyson’s “The Princess” verse
             calls it, in unrhymed passage terse,

             ‘three stars of airy Giant’s zone
             that glitter burnished’, as is shown,
             ‘by the frosty dark’, poetic
             in that author’s tone aesthetic.

             ‘Twas hierarchical collapse
             which limned the Monkey Head perhaps
             as part of primate to appear
             containing cloudscape in its sphere.

             Some galaxies astoundingly,
             to filters praise resoundingly,
             are evident in the backdrop,
             whose light the dust would largely stop.

             Patterned with graceful arcing frills
             structured into pillars and hills,
             it’s a place where dreams can wander
             off to a faraway yonder…

             Life goes by in wink of an eye.
             How shall we pass the time that’s nigh?
             Might it matter more than is thought
             in our future destiny wrought?

             The mourning dove doth coo at morn
             in plaintive call as day is born,
             while skylarks warble ‘strains profuse’.
             In Shelley’s ode, the songs they loose

             of ‘unpremeditated art’
             pour forth as from a joyous heart,
             with ‘notes that flow in crystal stream’
             deemed deeper ‘than we mortals dream’—

             tuneful troubadours, unbidden,
             singing ‘like a poet hidden’
             sweet refrains unmixed with sadness,
             melodies that teach of gladness.

             They trill in flight a wake-up call
             with rain of harmony for all,
             sounds of ever vernal showers
             in idyllic sylvan bowers.

             It’s said familiarity
             will breed contempt, a verity
             apparent in world around us
             from the troubles that confound us

             here on planet of our abode
             where life is but an episode
             we seem intent on ending fast,
             though so rare in the cosmos vast…

             As humans look to heavens’ vault
             their earthly vision to exalt,
             at wonderments that mystify
             in masterpieces of the sky,

             let’s bring stargazing awe back home
             where marvels lie neath azure dome,
             in fresh appreciation hark
             to effervescent song of lark,

             and on the greatest quest embark
             of seeking light within the dark
             delusion dwelling in mankind
             as well as true enlightened mind!

             ~ Harley White

* * * * * * * * * *

Inspiration derived from the following sources…

Image and explanation ~ At the Edge of NGC 2174

NGC 2174: Pillars in the Monkey Head Nebula (with image shown rotated to the right)...

Video ~ Hubble’s Stunning Monkey Head Nebula...

Info about Orion’s Belt…...

More info (with image shown rotated to the right) ~ Hubble Celebrates Its 24th Anniversary with an Infrared Look at a Nearby Star Factory...

The Great Wave off Kanagawa ~ by Katsushika Hokusai...

To a Skylark ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822…...

British wildlife recordings ~ skylark singing ~ Alauda arvensis : Skylark ~Alaudidae...

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 fantastic skyscape lies near the edge of NGC 2174 a star forming region about 6,400 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation of Orion. It follows mountainous clouds of gas and dust carved by winds and radiation from the region's newborn stars, now found scattered in open star clusters embedded around the center of NGC 2174, off the top of the frame. Though star formation continues within these dusty cosmic clouds they will likely be dispersed by the energetic newborn stars within a few million years. Recorded at infrared wavelengths by the Hubble Space Telescope, the interstellar scene spans about 6 light-years. The image celebrates the upcoming 24th anniversary of Hubble’s launch onboard the space shuttle orbiter Discovery on April 24, 1990.

At the Edge of NGC 2174

Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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