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270th Weekly Poetry Contest honorable mention: Betelgeuse

by Miles T. Ranter

The red giant Betelgeuse is the dimmest seen in years, prompting some speculation that the star is about to explode. —National Geographic

The stars of Orion are not the same
   as they were a few months ago,
for his right hand has dimmed so much
   you scarcely see its glow.
Yes, Betelgeuse, the supergiant
   lighting up the sky,
has lost its luster, barely noticed
   by the naked eye.

Yet still it’s so immensely bloated,
   if swapped with our own star,
it would eat Earth, Mars and Jupiter
   like a bear at a salad bar.
When Father Time soon gives the order
   to explode, so shall it,
glittering like a glockenspiel
   struck by a metal mallet.

In a hundred thousand years—or now—
   whenever it takes place,
it will be brighter than the moon,
   and all the human race
will watch in awe an event that happened
   in the middle ages
of a well-upholstered gaseous blob
   that’s gone through its life stages.

But if tonight that cosmic whale
   so pale now in Orion
spews its seed of elements
   like the floss of a dandelion
to make more suns and worlds and life
   (akin to me, in fact),
I’d feel as high as the moon itself
   to catch it in the act.

270th Weekly Poetry Contest