Sunday, October 17, 2010

Late Afternoon

NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud
Credit: A. Nota (ESA/STScI) et al., ESA, NASA

"How and why are all these stars forming? Found among the Small Magellanic Cloud's (SMC's) clusters and nebulae NGC 346 is a star forming region about 200 light-years across, pictured above by the Hubble Space Telescope. A satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a wonder of the southern sky, a mere 210,000 light-years distant in the constellation of the Toucan (Tucana). Exploring NGC 346, astronomers have identified a population of embryonic stars strung along the dark, intersecting dust lanes visible here on the right. Still collapsing within their natal clouds, the stellar infants' light is reddened by the intervening dust. A small, irregular galaxy, the SMC itself represents a type of galaxy more common in the early Universe. But these small galaxies are thought to be a building blocks for the larger galaxies present today. Within the SMC, stellar nurseries like NGC 346 are also thought to be similar to those found in the early Universe."

"The truth of the matter being that there is no such thing as time. Time is a hallucination. There is only today. There never will be anything except today. And if you do not know how to live today, you are demented."
- Alan Watts

I have very little to say for myself tonight.

Late Afternoon

I could not write this
until your whisper touched me
so precisely on
my most tender skin
like a ray of sun on white
white winter's snowy
slope given sudden
transport into summer's last
long late afternoon.
August 2, 2009 12:48 AM


  1. mmmmm... only today. and i.... a South wind is blowing melting all the snow.

  2. I saw you today, saw you from my heart's place. And right now you are flashing on the map which signals your presence here.

  3. Jozien, me too, you.

    Harlequin, you're welcome always.

  4. "Time is a hallucination." I try and I try and I fail and I try to grasp this for I know this to be true, and yet somehow I sabotage myself time and time again. I look to the clock as though that might be my measure. Instead, it is my demise.

    Your poem is sensual beautiful. There is something to winter that no other season can hold, something pure.


  5. Erin, thank you.

    I don't always exactly agree with the opinions I post. There is something about time that is real, so much so that it becomes central to Taoism. Time as we measure it is a marker. It is real like money is real. That is, its reality is largely empty. Yet there is duration and there is change. There is a quality to time which is captured in the idea of timing, of time that suits an action. There is meaning to many things we say poetically about time. There is meaning to destiny which is a way of finding the sacred in time. All these things are real in satisfying ways.

  6. There is meaning to destiny which is a way of finding the sacred in time.

    Your comments are as intriguing to read as your posts. I love the poem you left in a blog comment for one of this week's poetry bus passengers, whose name escapes me! :)

  7. Thank you for saying so, my friend. I have hung my whole thing in certain ways upon that way of thinking about time. There is one of the ancient Chinese classic books that figures in this. It is a dissertation on the various qualities of time and it distinguishes between them, saying that they naturally follow each other and that you can get from one to another with greater ease or perhaps with great difficulty but there is no way that one quality of time diverges so far from another as to be inaccessible. Traditional Chinese education contained these five or six classic books. I have been this book's student for forty years, though in the last year I have largely left it behind. That book is called I Ching. It codifies the shamanic wisdom that preceded the agrarian revolution and encloses that wisdom in agrarian formalism and it is thus a bridge between worlds. The
    Confucian overlays in the Ten Wings could not survive without reference to the core material. To understand that the book is at root shamanic is to understand something deep about human nature.

    Here is arguably the oldest book on the planet. When used, even today, it is remarkably accurate.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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