I had a dream that I was a butterfly
winged iridescent; my life would flutter by
as I was dreaming a dream of a dream of
my own lepidopteron being above.
Hither and thither I flightily flitted,
or so it seemed, as illusion befitted,
with troubles, eidolons, and nebulous fears.
And thus it continued for one hundred years.
In the Nymphalidae family was I,
akin to the nebula high in the sky
with beauty Cithaerial shimmering bright
in colors that cover the spectrum of light.
Knots and shells detailed in this Hubble capture
glow in light show that can bring about rapture,
cause soulful poets to sing about gladly
(seeing a butterfly wing about madly)
or brood over sadly with soft doleful sighs
the ultimate stages before its demise.
Stargazers perceive it with scientists’ eyes
and give facts and figures astronomer-wise.
The lobes of Twin Jet PN M Two Dash Nine
expand ever outward in pinion design
from central star system, in gaseous streams
of splendorous rainbows pellucid in gleams.
The binary stars at the nebula’s heart
go round one another in luminous art,
spending a century in this rotation,
and form the wings through their stellar gyration.
But let us return to the classical theme
of the Chinese philosopher’s famous dream
(which these rhyming stanzas have sought to extol),
where I found myself playing a starring role.
Diaphanous butterfly wings had I then
in the long-lived dream that I dreamed ten by ten
decades lastingly onward in cosmic time,
as did Sleeping Beauty in legend sublime.
Yet when I awakened, no alae had I.
No longer was I slender winged butterfly,
but veritably was a human once more,
with life to engage in, encounter, explore,
or just suffer through in a sentient state.
How would I create my tellurian fate?
Still I wondered if this was ‘reality’.
Could I be a butterfly dreaming of me?
To die, perchance dream; ay, indeed that’s the rub
that makes us endure the heartache and hubbub.
For death claims all beings as part of its sum.
And in sleep of death, who knows what dreams may come?
~ Harley White
< September 3, 2015 >
Inspiration for the poem was from the article, “The wings of the butterfly ~ New Hubble image of the Twin Jet Nebula”, of August 25, 2015, on the Hubble Space Telescope Org website.
Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2015
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