Empyreal Pandora

By Harley White posted 04-06-2023 06:34


Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, I. Labbe (Swinburne University of Technology) and R. Bezanson (University of Pittsburgh). Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Empyreal Pandora

They say ‘curiosity killed the cat’

and evils emerged in numberless flocks,

when going against the caveat that

she must never ever pry through the locks

that were fastened securely on the jar,

which textual fault turned into a box,

Pandora whose legend has spread afar

could not her inquisitiveness resist,

albeit Man’s fate her action would mar

thus to glimpse like eager astronomist,

plus follow natural human desire,

the mysteries hidden that might exist.

In myth this arose from the gift of fire

Prometheus stole on Man to bestow,

so Hesiod wrote, though his work entire,

as ancient Greek poet of long ago,

has elements of misogynist streak

which in Pandora’s tale seem apropos.

This lady was made to punishment wreak

perhaps, according to Hesiod’s text,

a ‘beautiful evil’, no woman meek,

that first mortal maiden of issue hexed,

a human female considered ‘sheer guile’

unleashing the plagues which the world have vexed.

In spite of her gifts and bewitching smile

Pandora was slandered in myth and verse

which prejudice lasted a long, long while.

Hope was trapped in the jar to make things worse,

stuck under the lid, remaining behind.

But was hope a good thing or added curse?

Construals vary; if hope’s judged as ‘blind’,

plus whether or not hope truly got out.

And is hope always a boon for the mind?

Might false expectation stimulate doubt?

It’s hard to imagine life without hope.

Still there’s more that the poem is about.

So let me get off this slippery slope

before my unstable footing I lose

and look to the stars for a cosmic scope.

Pandora’s Cluster I’ve chosen to use,

precisely Abell two seven four four,

since the James Webb image enthused my muse

poetically for its mix of lore

along with the lofty galactic group

whose mythic name grand panorama bore.

Apparently some clusters flew their coop

during three hundred fifty million years,

collecting into giant mega-troop

of galaxy gatherings in the spheres

celestial, four billion light-years from Earth,

which is where this colossal bunch appears.

The galaxy crowd’s gargantuan girth

is made up of just a tad of its mass,

less than five percent, indeed quite a dearth

compared to conjectured ‘dark matter’ class

which it’s said might be three quarters of it.

So hot is its twenty percent of gas

that only in X-rays can shine emit.

A radio halo it also has

as do other Abell clusterings knit.

The nickname the flock is also known as

was given Pandora’s Cluster due to

so much strange and sundry type razzmatazz

being released by collision’s to-do.

Four pictures of cluster together sewn

compose immense vista brought into view

in deep field image from the James Webb shown

by astronomers with new details seen

of already massive three clusters grown

into mega assembled mammoth mien

which fashion in concert a potent lens

gravitational, magnifier keen,

allowing stargazers vision to cleanse

plus lust for learning to further fulfill

with peeks into deep stelliferous glens…

So Pandora’s spirit is with us still

in questing beyonds as humankind will.

~ Harley White

* * * * * * * * *

The form of the poem is Terza Rima.

Terza rima is a rhyming verse stanza form that consists of an interlocking three-line rhyme scheme using chain rhyme. It was first used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. The literal translation of terza rima from Italian is ‘third rhyme’…

Some sources of inspiration were the following…

Pandora (Wikipedia)…

NASA’s Webb Uncovers New Details in Pandora’s Cluster…

Explanation: Webb’s new view of Pandora’s Cluster stitches 4 snapshots together into a panorama, showing 3 separate galaxy clusters merging into a megacluster and some 50,000+ sources of near-infrared light. Notice that some of the galaxies are red in color and distorted. This is because the mass and gravity of the megacluster in the foreground actually magnify and warp the more distant galaxies in the back — an effect called gravitational lensing. Only the center core of Pandora’s Cluster (or Abell 2744) has been previously studied in detail by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Webb’s powerful view provides astronomers a much broader and deeper look at this region.

Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, I. Labbe (Swinburne University of Technology) and R. Bezanson (University of Pittsburgh). Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)