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123rd Weekly Poetry Contest winner: After Studying the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field

by Miles T. Ranter

After Studying the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field
(Rondeau Redoublé)

“Once upon a time, faint lumps of light —
coiled bluish millipede, plump tawny snail —
each formed of scores of flames, whose rays took flight
soon after the Bang, appeared exquisite and frail

as spores,” you muse as you tramp along this trail
through oak and hickory filtering the might
of the low-slung sun. You’re lost in a fairy tale
of once-upon-a-time, as flecks of light

wink softly from radio towers on the height
like fireflies sparking the dusk. A fingernail
of moon appears while, beyond a long-winged kite,
coiled bluish millipede, plump tawny snail —

invisible as viruses — glide and sail
on waves of ion seas. How did the night,    
beyond a jet plane’s woolly water tail,
form multitudes of flames whose rays took flight?

You suddenly catch sight of a wary white-
tailed doe and her fawns, which follow without fail,
as without fail the world became just right,
just right for a bang, a bang zapping the frail

and exquisite, as exquisite as the pale
but darkening skyline. Somewhere out of sight
a hoot owl harmonizes with the wail
of air-raid sirens. Things were looking bright   
once upon a time.

See all the entrants to 123rd Weekly Poetry Contest