It’s said that nature prefers a spiral.
In world we know they’ve nearly gone viral,
found in phenomena great or small size
on earth, in the seas and celestial skies.
Crucifers, fingerprints have this motif,
forms phyllotactic on stems for the leaf,
hurricanes, DNA’s spiraling strands,
nautilus shells fractalized in the sands.
Some patterns follow sequence condition
of Fibonacci, mathematician,
for instance, sunflower florets design
running clockwise and counter as they twine.
A flocculent spiral whose arms unfurl,
Galaxy Sunflower looks like a swirl
or the yellow blossom for which it’s named,
sixty-three of Messier objects famed,
with high luminosity not star made
but maybe from black hole’s unfathomed shade.
Momentum angular and rotation
both strong share also in its creation.
By Pierre Méchain initially eyed
as the first deep-sky object he had spied
in June of seventeen seventy-nine
and then with Messier’s listings combined,
that grand cosmic grouping, celebrated
for fluffy appearance, is located
twenty-seven million light-years away,
with four hundred billion stars on display!
It’s one hundred thirty thousand in span,
this galactic giant with floral plan,
roughly the range of our Milky abode
as shown in picture by Hubble bestowed.
Canes Venatici constellation,
in English, ‘Hunting Dogs’ aggregation,
houses the Whirlpool along with this bloom,
adorned in pink dots of star baby boom,
plus blue spiral arms round an amber core,
and cosmic dust lanes stargazers explore.
Titled NGC five zero five five
as well, this lustrous domain seems to thrive.
A sunflower speaks to us of the light
that brightens our earthly voyage to night.
Vincent van Gogh painted many of them,
lying down, in vases, each work a gem.
His friend, Paul Gauguin, a portrait composed
of the painter and blossoms which disclosed
what he felt showed artist in his essence.
Yet how could one capture the quintessence
of Vincent’s vast genius in hue and style,
whose masterpieces will ever beguile?!
A host of creators remained ignored
till all of a sudden they were adored
by future critics or lovers of art
with often dizzying changes of heart.
Such is the case with a talent unique
in poetry, song, aesthetic mystique.
William Blake, unrecognized in his day,
now is lauded, applauded, here to stay
with glorious verse and image blended
conveyed through powerful visions splendid.
In poem he penned apropos our theme,
the blossom longs for eternity’s stream,
in lines, ‘Ah Sun-flower! weary of time’…
who’s ‘seeking after that sweet golden clime’,
perhaps symbolic of the constant Sun
or ‘where the traveler’s journey is done’…
Whether we hold with this fanciful flight,
that galactic bloom’s quite an awesome sight.
Yet wondrous for us is the ‘pale blue dot’
as Sagan called Earth, with unfinished plot
of the human story we are writing
on our home sweet home, still so inviting,
a ‘lonely speck in the great cosmic dark’
which has nurtured life from tiniest spark
into manifold beings to abound
in the skies, the oceans, and on the ground.
Here swan clouds sail the azure firmament
while measured sundial days impermanent
from dawn to dusk in kaleidoscope scene
segue to star-studded nocturnal screen.
If heaven there were in vastness of space
it might parallel the Goldilocks place
where mortals, with fortune they scarce descry,
live out their existence before they die.
On playing our parts and exiting stage,
will we discover another blank page
for ongoing destiny to be writ
in full-length drama or improvised skit?
Alexander Pope an idiom coined,
later by myriad authors purloined,
in heroic couplet by which he said,
that ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’.
May quests in astronomy kindle flame
of appreciation in how we came
to be here, midst enormous stellar scheme,
igniting passion to wake from the dream,
so we’ll turn our gaze to the inner realms
ere the path to extinction overwhelms
due to greed unrestrained and mindless pride,
which savvy alone cannot override,—
thus to find where true wisdom’s waters flow
and embrace enlightenment’s golden glow
through reciting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,
the phrase taught by Nichiren long ago!
~ Harley White
* * * * * * * * * *
Inspiration derived from the following sources as well as others…
A Galactic Sunflower
Messier 63 (The Sunflower Galaxy)
Messier 63: Sunflower Galaxy
Petal of the Sunflower: Discovery of a Stellar Tidal Stream in the Halo of Messier 63 (NGC 5055)...
Sunflower Galaxy – Messier 63
Sunflower Galaxy – Messier 63
Messier 63 – the Sunflower Galaxy
Why Is Our Universe Filled With Spirals?
Spiral on Wikipedia...
Spirals in Nature ~ video...
Sunflower paintings ~ by Vincent van Gogh...
The Painter of Sunflowers, 1888 by Paul Gauguin...
Poem “Ah! Sunflower” ~ by William Blake, 1757–1827...
Pale Blue Dot...
“An Essay on Criticism” ~ by Alexander Pope (1688–1744).
Image ~ A galactic sunflower
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 info ~ Discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1779, the galaxy later made it as the 63rd entry into fellow French astronomer Charles Messier’s famous catalogue, published in 1781. The two astronomers spotted the Sunflower Galaxy’s glow in the small, northern constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). We now know this galaxy is about 27 million light-years away and belongs to the M51 Group — a group of galaxies, named after its brightest member, Messier 51, another spiral-shaped galaxy dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy. Galactic arms, sunflowers and whirlpools are only a few examples of nature’s apparent preference for spirals. For galaxies like Messier 63 the winding arms shine bright because of the presence of recently formed, blue–white giant stars, readily seen in this Hubble image.
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
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