Ethereal Cloud - Poem by Harley White
A red rectangle sits in space,
notable among its peers
for a rare geometric face
nebular, mid starry spheres.
Seldom in the universe are
straight lines spotted, so this seems
quite bi-conically bizarre,
as with figments found in dreams.
The vast survey of sky afar
in nineteen seventy-three,
evocatively named ‘Hi Star',
due to infrared could see
guise of protoplanetary
interstellar cloud so-called,
colored in extraordinary
rubicund pigments piebald.
HD four four one seven nine
is like a moribund sun
at the end of its days to shine.
Thus, the hazy shape's been spun
from middle star that's binary,
into stairway heaven-born,
with Monoceros finery,
of astral group Unicorn.
It mimics modern cubist art
in structure limned as an X,
whose bold design is off the chart
having ladder rungs complex.
This Hubble capture of red hue
shows the cobweb cast unique,
clarifying earlier view
of its nebulous mystique.
Yet certain mysteries persist
as to its curious frame
woven out of gossamer mist
into form with claim to fame.
The twofold star which swirled the whole
circled by a torus dense
with jets precessed that played a role
may help researchers make sense
of this nimbus of dust and gas
upon which gazers ponder,
while their wandering fancies pass
hither, thither and yonder.
Has the circle been rectangled
via philosophers' quest
in this nebula right-angled,
putting ancient doubts at rest?
Some discern a giant jewel
with a brilliant diamond core
shedding mass from center dual
in diaphanous outpour.
Poetic musers join the group
by its beauty also teased,
as their reveries loop the loop
with unearthly brooding seized.
Are there realms on faraway shelves
in dimensions lost to sight,
flights of stairs that we climb ourselves
to ascend to distant light?
Still, what greater matter than life
with its secrets undisclosed
plus burning global questions rife
could be more urgently posed?
We were born on this ‘pale blue dot'
as Sagan's vision teaches.
Like it or not, it's all we've got
within the cosmic reaches.
What will it take to realize
that true wisdom must arise
from the depths of innermost skies
where illumination lies,
lest we imperil nature's poise
in our world of griefs and joys?
Poet's Notes about The Poem
"The unearthly beauty of the Red Rectangle" from "Astronomy Now"…
"Hubble Frames a Unique Red Rectangle"…
"Hubble Telescope Captures Sharpest Image Yet of Mysterious Red Rectangle"…
In the image, star HD 44179 is surrounded by an extraordinary structure known as the Red Rectangle. This image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Image credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA
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