Some called it a turtle, this nebula faint,
known as NGC sixty-two ten,
of lazuline hues and pastel pinkish paint,
within Hercules constellation’s constraint,
telescopically in our ken.
While colors by ionized oxygen caused
seem daubed with impressionistic strokes
like subtle magenta, in dying star paused,
concretely explained in couched verbiage claused,
the gouache a vast masterpiece evokes.
In Roman mythology, Hercules stood
for champion and protector great
of those who were weakest, a hero of good
with vigorous strength, still in all likelihood
his problems began, stories relate,
at birth, being fathered by Jupiter god
of sky, immortal, but mothered by
Alcmena, through usage of trickery’s prod
when Jupiter, cloaked in her husband’s façade,
with the lady slept in manner sly.
Then Juno, the wife of Jupiter, instead
of wrath at her husband turned it on
the woman whom Jupiter duped into bed
as well as the baby unborn, so it’s said,
though blame lay with spousal liaison.
A myriad interpretations are found
regarding the Herculean tale.
To choose ‘mongst the numerous myths that abound
I picked one pertaining to stargazing ground
and home galactic from whence we hail.
That version recounts that the infant was left
by mother Alcmena in the wild
to guard him from Juno’s divinity heft
supposing the child of his parent bereft
would survive to receive treatment mild.
But goddess Minerva encountered the boy,
assumed him to be an orphaned lad
in need of nourishment, and sought to employ
Juno’s suckling at her own breast to enjoy
when nursing him with the milk she had.
This nurtured him until her nipple he bit
upon which she pushed him off in pain,
therefrom the spilled liquid the firmament lit
by spreading across the night sky in its flit
to form Milky Way’s celestial lane.
Nonetheless, in feeding the babe from her breast
the goddess with further strength imbued
young Hercules, more inadvertently blessed
through Juno’s provision as legends attest
than ere, as if by fortune pursued.
Still, he wasn’t only physically strong,
Heraclitus, philosopher Greek
maintained, but wisdom and intellect along
with corporal forcefulness impressed the throng
of those who praised his features unique.
The labors of Hercules numbering twelve
allegorically sometimes read
are not subject matter that researchers shelve
but into which authors diverse dig and delve
like Hercule Poirot in Christie’s thread.
These efforts ‘impossible’ had been applied
due to Juno’s vindictive desires
and Hercules’ madness at whose own hand died
his family, from Juno’s excessive pride
that caught him in insanity’s mires.
Oh tragic the consequences of her rage
that made him his wife and children kill!
He repented when returned to judgement sage
plus could earn himself immortality’s stage
through feats that Hercules would fulfill.
By means of twelve labors he was to atone,
which Juno’s machinations made worse
albeit to rueful Hercules unknown,
so he traveled the world in these tests alone
to satisfy Juno’s wants perverse.
Aye those gods and goddesses seem unashamed
of the carnal emotions they feel.
Two labors of his which are rightfully famed
were capture of dreaded Cerberus, untamed,
plus golden apples he had to steal.
In ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ where Yeats
has lyricized those grand apples gold,
of Hesperides reminiscent in traits,
at end, ‘golden apples of the sun’ he states,
that line by fans cited, young and old.
Yet let’s let the stargazers back in the scene
with nebula planetary bright
though small in its thrall of the last gasping mien,
here viewed through the Hubble scope camera keen
in representation brought to light.
It’s six thousand five hundred light-years away
in Hercules constellated fold—
far off from terraqueous willings at play,
so primitive still in the mind’s disarray—
where lie unfathomed wonders untold…
How long or much longer can Mankind survive
and so-called humanity exist?
Perhaps we should quest inwardly while alive,
in addition for cosmic beyonds to strive—
or might life take on a further twist?
~ Harley White
* * * * * * * * *
A source of inspiration was the following…
NGC 6210 (Wikipedia)…
Image explanation: NGC 6210 is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Hercules… This object was first recorded as a star-like feature by Joseph Lalande on March 22, 1799. However, credit for the discovery of a nebula goes to Wilhelm Struve in 1825. John L. E. Dreyer described it as, “a planetary nebula, very bright, very small, round, disc and border”.
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA