Harley White


Cosmic Lens - Poem by Harley White

There’s a smiley face in space
that’s beaming from above
at our mindless human race
on Earth we say we love.

Yet we mortals trash our planet
and with weaponry we man it,
dream up lucrative devotions,
scheme up profiteering notions.
(If it’s good for us, we ban it.)
We pour poisons in the oceans,

putrefy the air we’re breathing,
spew out gases foul that interfere
with shield of ozone wreathing
in the upper atmosphere–
one of the stratospheric layers
necessary for us here–
which greedy corporate players
have been making disappear.

How they vie for prominence,
cry for global dominance,
in their lethal games
with avaricious aims

that strive for power, to possess
more and more and more and more,
all in the name of ‘progress’,
in a doom where we’ll be done for!

Way out in that spatial place,
there we see that ‘happy face’
(anyhow at least ‘so-called’)
with arcs in lensing guise
that across its look are sprawled,
plus galaxies for eyes.

This strong gravitational
Einstein lensing ring
shows a quite sensational
though misleading thing

that has caused this warped spacetime
to evoke my Hubble rhyme
for its kisser countenance
born from massive mountenance
(which is a word that can be seen
in Edmund Spenser’s “Faerie Queene”) .

How will our folk tale end up?
Could that grinning gal or guy
be a parodic send-up,
satirizing us on high?

We’re drowning in excessive stuff
at a fast and frenzied pace…
When will people shout, “Enough! ”?

Man can wreak havoc, in worst case,
with single pull of lever.

Still and all, we think we’re clever…

I’ve a wish, in medias res–
but better late than never:

May human beings life embrace,
before our hopes we sever
to find an earthly state of grace–
in truth, the great endeavor…

So, smile upon us, smiley face!
We need it more than ever!

Topic(s) of this poem: astronomy

Form: Ekphrastic


Poet's Notes about The Poem

A key result of Einstein’s theory is that matter warps space-time, and thus a massive object can cause an observable bending of light from a background object. The first success of the theory was the observation, during a solar eclipse, that light from a distant background star was deflected by the predicted amount as it passed near the Sun.

Astronomers have since found many examples of this phenomenon, known as “gravitational lensing.” More than just a cosmic illusion, gravitational lensing provides astronomers with a way of probing extremely distant galaxies and groups of galaxies in ways that would otherwise be impossible even with the most powerful telescopes.

Inspiration for poem came from Hubble Image and article, “A Smiling Lens” < spacetelescope.org/images/potw1506a/ >

* * * * * * * * *

Credit: ~ NASA & ESA

Comments about Cosmic Lens by Harley White

  • (8/26/2016)


    Hats off to the Cosmic lens that has depicted the reiteration of self destruction process carries out by human in the name of progress. Congrats for inking such a thought provoking poem as also on it's Poem of the Day. (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/26/2016 7:49:00 AM)

    Thank you very much for your warmhearted, enthusiastic response!

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (8/25/2016 10:41:00 PM)


    that grinning gal or guy
    could well be a bubble
    (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra (8/25/2016 8:05:00 PM)


    we want a peaceful life, world in peace. (Report) Reply

  • Pamela Sinicrope (8/25/2016 3:23:00 PM)


    The message in this poem has been written and discussed over and over again...but never (am I aware) in the context of a smiley face in outer space, Einstein's theory of matter, and of an archaic term borrowed from Spenser's Faerie Queen...all in media res...and using a clever rhyme scheme and organization of stanzas that flow interestingly. :)) I mapped through your rhyming, syllables, stanza lengths and overall poem length and was puzzled and amused. There is a degree of consistency of all of the above with some dissonance thrown in. Well, I'm smiling and you've conveyed your message loud and clear...and I learned something. Thanks and congratulations. I look forward to reading more. (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/25/2016 4:02:00 PM)

    I appreciate your attentive reading and thoughtful commentary, Pamela. You picked up on the playfulness of the structure and how I allowed myself to free flow from time to time. I often write poems associated with astronomy themes and enjoy learning as I study my subject matter. In the case of this cosmic grin, my take on the image was perhaps unexpected. At any rate, I am pleased with your response in every sense, which has me smiling, too... Thank you!

  • Malcolm Two (8/25/2016 8:44:00 AM)


    The right place for this poem is here Poem of the day thanks for sharing Harley. (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/26/2016 7:05:00 AM)

    Actually I was surprised and delighted to see that my poem had been chosen Poem of the Day, especially since I posted it quite some time ago! I am pleased that you enjoyed it...

  • (8/25/2016 7:26:00 AM)


    Cool poem. And introduction too. Your poem should be etched in titanium and placed in a most prominent spot to be found by alien archeologists eons from now after the human race has killed itself off, so that the aliens may be warned against destroying their own planet(s) . Einstein was correct about bending light, but that is about the only thing he was correct about. The modern day adaptation of gravitational pull is another step in the right direction but still lacking. The future will prove that light particles are actual matter, and should be added to the periodic table of elements. And as 'matter' they are then subject to what we call 'gravity' and can be deflected as they travel around large gravitational bodies like the sun or any other planet or body of great mass. The definition of gravity is that it is created by bodies of mass, which is really more of an observation than a definition. We don't really have a definition of gravity because we don't really know what causes it. But it is caused by magnetism. In the next 70 years we are going to discover that and then it will be a very short time that we will have intergalactic travel based on it. Some times I feel like a time traveling student who has been sent back in time to learn how difficult it is to change the mindset of an entire population who thinks it knows everything.... But we don't. Not even close. But we are taking steps in that direction. And your poem is a wonderful example of that. (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/25/2016 2:34:00 PM)

    Thank you for your thoughtful and powerful commentary. And I certainly agree that there is so much more than meets our limited human eyes. We need to wake up!

  • Robert Murray Smith (8/25/2016 5:13:00 AM)


    A very intelligent, and well executed poem. Your sagacity shines through.You will be seen in the top 500.


    Robert
    (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/25/2016 6:55:00 AM)

    I am really smiling from these marvelous words! Thank you very much!

  • Kim Barney (8/25/2016 3:32:00 AM)


    Fantastic poem, Harley. It flows very well. Excellent choice for poem of the day! (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/25/2016 7:04:00 AM)

    Your reaction is so encouraging! Thanks very much!

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/25/2016 3:10:00 AM)


    Pace! In space; ; with the ace of the universe. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/25/2016 6:56:00 AM)

    Thank you for reading it and commenting!

  • Kelly Kurt (8/25/2016 2:41:00 AM)


    An excellent piece, Harley. I am well acquainted with the phenomenon and its physical explanation, but your poem was a wonderful accompaniment.
    Congrats on poem of the day
    (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/26/2016 3:42:00 PM)

    I'm really pleased that you enjoyed this and were moved to make this comment! Thank you!

  • (8/25/2016 1:38:00 AM)


    You write with great passion and intelligence. The first part I wholly agree with and the later imagining re the Smiling Lens is great poetry. Whether we can overcome this obsessive greed is a frightful problem. I can't think of a poem that better deserves Poem of the Day. Well done. It's going into my List of favourites. (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (8/26/2016 3:45:00 PM)

    I truly appreciate your careful reading and wonderful words, which encourage me greatly!

  • Spock The Vegan (12/1/2015 6:00:00 PM)


    Bart Simpson on steroids. :) Good poem....10 TFS (Report) Reply

    Harley White Harley White (12/2/2015 10:32:00 AM)

    Such a perfect pareidolia for a poem... Thanks for the comment...

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015



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