For those who are afraid, this
is what we are.
Made of spots and threads of light,
it looks like a giant brain, tissue
microscoped. Each neuron, gathered
axons, spot of light, plays
of galaxies. Each drift
of connective tissue, teased-out wisp
of dandelion clock, mimes a trace
of dark matter. The scale indicator
gigaparsec: two billion light-years.
No commentary, no soundtrack.
The great column
of colonies of shining globules and filaments
turns in majestic silence.
For those who are afraid,
The view zooms in: the ship flies closer.
Among the lights, black gaps appear,
spread, become caves
of space, of holding
and Light. Play it
again. Listen. Is that
a sussuration? Whispers, waves, pings
along the filaments? What is it?
For those who are afraid.
From A coat of ashes
Watch the videos and read about the Millennium Simulation Project at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.
The italicised phrase in stanza 4 is from the poem “From The Testament of Tourmaline” by Randolph Stow, in The Land’s Meaning, Fremantle Press 2012, p. 147.