Friday, May 4, 2018


Megellanic Clouds above Laguna Lejia, Chile

(for Ezra Pound)

Saturday night in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Power knocked out by two days of storm
Lull in the rain, clouds clearing
Awakened by bright moonlight filling my bedroom
I walk barefoot out onto the debris-strewn deck
See winter stars: 

Orion, Pleiades, Cepheus, Cassiopeia
Sparkling through the scudding clouds
Raw moonlight illuminating the glistening forest
Like a Spielberg alien contact set
I watch lightning sparking, thunder grumbling
Inside mammoth clouds retreating to the East.

The Greek word for "beauty"
(Cognate to "cosmetic")

That's what our predecessors called this world
Cosmos was their word for Everything
Cosmos: one name for All Phenomena

Inside and out
One name for this uncanny experience
Spread open for all conscious beings
For you, for me, for the fish in the sea.
This one equation:

Cosmos equals Beauty.


Mysti Easterwood said...

Now it is 'omorpho' - literally 'with form' that means 'beauty' in Greek. Cosmos still means something, but it has transmogrified into exactly its own cognate: world/realm/cosmos.

Beau Blue said...

silly Sagan and his 'star stuff' ... now an extra sliver of consciousness that has to be beautiful ... even if it does include Cleveland. -blue

nick herbert said...

BB --

Subtracting Clevelad from Cosmos could trigger a vast catastrophe.

We know so little about the real purpose of things.

Mysti Easterwood said...

Are you saying we know too much about the irreal purpose of things? Ah, Pataphysics...
But Cleveland is already cloven, in'it?

Michael Grosso said...

Nick, thanks for reminding us of the meaning of word "cosmos", which refers to a beautiful ornament. Now if only we could cultivate an ongoing attitude that sees and feels the beauty of the cosmos.

nick herbert said...

Hi Mike--

Old Will said it best:

"Love this well
Ere it perish."

nick herbert said...

Hi Mysti--

Einstein was alleged to say "Only two things are infinite: the Universe and human stupidity. And I'm not so sure about the former."

Moses Fayngold said...

Cosmos Means Beauty... If only we could get deeper into the Meaning of Being!

Beau Blue said...

Being is too short a flash to mean anything. Cosmos might have a chance but a really really small one. We do not exist without time .. and we don't seem to have any of any cosmic significance. It's a bitch.

David Deamer said...

Dear Nick -- Thanks so much for your explanatory poetry. I remember being a teen-ager in Columbus, Ohio, and I was so excited to learn that there was a school of cosmetology nearby. Then I was disappointed when I learned the meaning: "Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty treatment." But years later, when I view the magnificent Hubble images of planetary nebulas - the Cat's eye, the Seagull, the Fox -- perhaps astronomers are cosmetologists.