Empyreal Elephant

By Harley White posted 05-05-2021 08:55


Empyreal Elephant

High up in Cepheus dwells what is known
colloquially as Elephant Trunk,
itself not the whole, but simply a hunk
that’s part of a vaster nebula’s zone.
The gas and dust globule threads into frame
of characteristic elephant head
along with proboscis in cloudy spread
which renders its pachyderm claim to fame.
Majestic in bearing, immense in size,
these eminent creatures never forget
‘tis said, a tall tale in essence, and yet
 with lofty IQ, they’re esteemed as wise.
Of matriarch head in their social core,
an elephant feels what a person might.
Astute Aristotle with depth of sight
described them as having a greater store
than other land faunae of wit and mind
as evidenced in their natural ways
of conduct communal worthy of praise,
still often ill-treated by humankind.
They trumpet their feelings in well-known cry
with range of emotions that people bare,
like grief, joy, or trait to be self-aware,
plus altruism in such short supply
on earth— but back to the jumbo aloft
far off in celestial savanna spied,
it’s claimed protostars in the tendrils hide
within the embedded cloud billows soft
which start off first phase of stars to appear.
About two thousand light-years from where we’re
abiding is seen that animal’s sphere,
analogous to its lookalike here.
To cite Albert Schweitzer by paraphrase,
in setting where pachyderms took the helm
an ‘iron door yielded’ to inner realm
through grand revelation like blinding blaze
whence reverence played on the center stage
thus opening path in the thicket’s strife
to visible course for affirming life
and nature’s world in epiphany sage.
We sojourn on motherly planet blue
adrift in an ever unfathomed deep
that’s peerless as yet in the cosmic sweep
of reachable space environs in view.
Through ongoing flurry of mortal flux
to be and to be is our being’s quest
while sensory grasp is put to the test
with ethical posture a vital crux.
~ Harley White
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Some sources of inspiration were the following…
Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965): ‘Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography’
“What is affirmation of the world and of life?... In that mental state, I had to take a long journey up the river… Lost in thought, I sat on deck of the barge, struggling to find the elementary and universal concept of the ethical that I had not discovered in any philosophy… Two days passed. Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset, we were making our way through a herd of hippopotamuses, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase: ‘Reverence for Life’. The iron door had yielded. The path in the thicket had become visible. Now I had found my way to the principle in which affirmation of the world and ethics are joined together!”
Photo of the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula by amateur astronomer Chuck Ayoub, 2019 ~ This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. ~ Attribution: Chuck Ayoub 

Explanation: The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula is a dense region of dust and gas found within the considerably larger star forming region IC 1396 in Cepheus constellation. Designated IC 1396A, the elongated globule of dust and gas was named the Elephant’s Trunk because it resembles an elephant’s head and trunk at visible wavelengths, appearing as a dark patch with a bright winding rim. It is located at a distance of 2,400 light years from Earth.

Image ~ The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in Cepheus
Image Credit & Copyright: Chuck Ayoub