Hubble Space Poem Trilogy 3: Universal Poetry

Over the last few days this site has featured images and poems of the Sombrero galaxy and Ant nebula as the first two instalments of the Hubble Trilogy. Today we bring the space trilogy to a close with a complete image and poem of the universe.

Poem Explanation

Today we have the third and last poem of the trilogy, which tries to capture as complete an image of the whole universe’s space and time as possible within a few words.

I had the idea of structuring the poem like the image of the universe I had read about. Some images suggest it is a big spiralling mirror image, so I created the poem with the words expanding out from the point of singularity (theorised to be what was present before the Big Bang) in the centre.

I structured this by making the lines longer as they spread out from the centre. That original poem is now freely available in all its glory on the Folding Mirror website.

For this site I compacted the poem into a mini version and formatted it onto an image of the M100 spiral galaxy, which represents the whole expanding universe, from the How Stuff Works website.

The poem starts in the centre at the point of singularity and then works vertically outwards to the top and bottom of the image.

The Poem

Space from Singularity Expanding Universe
Space from Singularity Expanding Universe Poem

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Hubble Space Poem Trilogy 2: Ant Nebula

The second most popular image taken by the Hubble telescope is of the Ant Nebula. The image seems to mirror vertically as a white dwarf at the centre shoots out high velocity outflows.

The Ant Nebula Seems to Mirror Vertically

Poem Explanation

In line with the vertical mirroring, I created the poem as a triptych (thanks Caroline). The letters and words are formatted with the white dwarf and flowing colours in mind. The Ant Nebula (Menzel3 or MZ3) is in the Norma constellation, and that explains the title. The white dwarf is a dying star about the same size as our sun; it is supposed to last in that state for 25,000 years.

I created the poem on Word, Paint and Photo Impact.

The Poem

Norma’s White Dwarf Colour Composer

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*WDCC = White Dwarf Colour Composer

Planetary Nebula and Space Photo Colours Info

Hubble Space Poem Trilogy 1: the Sombrero Galaxy

The most popular photo ever taken by Hubble is the nearby Sombrero galaxy (M104), which is said to have 800 billion suns in it; be 50,000 light years across; and is thought to have a black hole a billion times our wonderful sun’s mass at the centre.

The Sombrero Galaxy Rings Provide a Folding Mirror Image?

Poem Explanation

It may be because of my biased mindset, but I think the Sombrero galaxy has a bit of a folding mirror look about it; more like a double sombrero than one.

So I wrote a little FM ditty about it in a shape that hopefully physically replicates the mirror hat Hubble image. I also reversed the mirroring words in each half’s lines as much as possible.

The two halves mirror words per line: 3-5-6-9 (4) 9-6-5-3

The middle is small but bold to represent the black hole’s tiny size and massive mass.

How’s That for a Mexican Hat?

zenith fading stars
400 billion suns circle dance
top side of the folding sombrero
50,000 light years enclosed in dust top to right
left to bottom orbs fall from 50,000 light years
creating a mirror sombrero lower half
millions of halo clusters shine
star fading nadir


*BHBS*: Black Hole Billion Suns

It’s the first of a few space FMs over the next few days, so please return to continue your FM journey through the Hubble enlightened universe.

By the way, there is also an hourglass image amongst Hubble’s top pictures if you follow the image link, and that of course has relevance to Claire Knight’s recent ground-breaking Hourglass poem.

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NASA Sombrero Info

New FM Poem Titles and Subjects Article

Admin’s second recent article researching the first seventy-six poems on this site is now up on Suite 101. The main findings were that most poems did not use any of the title in the middle line, and nature was the most popular subject. For the full results please follow the link to Poetry Subjects, Poem Headers and Middle Lines.

Hourglass of Time and Life Poem by Claire Knight

Today we have the second of three recent Folding Mirror poems by Claire Knight. This one is really innovative, with the hourglass shape providing a striking design for the story of life contained in the poem.

Thanks for the groundbreaking poem and design Claire, and I hope you continue twisting the FM mould.

Hourglass of Time

is birth a blank page? or a weighty tome
crammed full of ingrained wisdom
and lesson plans to draw on
as we climb the hill
of learning and
striving until
on the peak
we turn:
a change of
view sliding
down with ease
the relentless decline
grains of truth spill between
our hands until the sands run out
and the tome of life swells with more pages

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Wolfman Reversed: A Wolfie Revision of the Werewolf Archetype

Today’s poem is the mirror alternative to the stereotypical werewolf transformation, which has previously been covered in a poem on this poetry website: Stereotypical Werewolf Transformation.

Poem Explanation

The new Joe Johnston directed werewolf film, Wolfman, is another chapter in the traditional film treatment of the human-wolf relationship.

This poem basically reverses the stereotype of wolf attacking human; turning victims into werewolf killing machines. The poem tries to provide a mirror image of the werewolf relationship between human and wolf.

Its inspiration is the true relationship between human and wolf, and questions about which creature really seems like the monster between the two, when you look at how each has treated the other during their time together.

Although wolves are obviously carnivores, wolf attacks on humans are very rare, and there has apparently never been such an attack by a healthy wolf in North America. Meanwhile, humans have been massacring wolves for centuries, and the killing still continues despite wolves being eliminated from great swathes of land bordering ‘civilisation’.

Poem Structure

The poem mirrors in words per line from the outers to the middle line, with a structure of:

7-6-9-5-5-5 (11) 5-5-5-9-6-7

The Poem

The Reverse Werewolf Transformation

wild wolf partly eaten by a human
I know it sounds pretty gruesome
got my leg half bitten and lost two paws
surely there should be laws
to protect wolves like me
from this kind of atrocity

next full moon I fail to howl for the first time

my voice has no harmony
no more freedom for me
stumbling around without a pack
I wish I could have the old times back
now I’m a shackled city stray
lost my company and somewhere to play

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Categories Reorganised with more Focus on Subjects

The subjects of poems can be, how do you say, subjective. So sometimes a poem may be about something different from what is actually written. Anyway, I’ve tried to interpret the poems on the site as best I could, and allocated them into subject categories.

New Categories on Site

I thought this would be more relevant for visitors to the site, rather than the previous categories, which were a bit of a mish mash.

Some notes on the subject categories: culture includes environment; social includes family and society; and mind includes philosophy.

I was inspired to do this by looking through the posts to analyse what subjects have been covered the most in the Folding Mirror poems so far. I’m going to include the subjects in a short article along with how the headings have been used in the poems on the site.

New Folding Mirror Article

I have finished an article on the use of the middle line, and that’s in the poetry section on the Suite 101 site now.

Claire Knight Winter Snow Poem

Here’s one of three new Folding Mirror poems by Claire Knight that we’ll be publishing here in the near future.

Thanks to Claire for creating another strong and evocative FM and allowing it to be used here.

The snow is falling once again as I write.


pristine snow lies all around
its silence its muffled sound
each crystal glistening a spark
contrasting trees bare and dark
bushes laden with cotton wool clumps
waiting inviting – a longing to touch

this world out of reach through the window

thawing melting – a longing to stroll
the towpath awash with slushy humps
pathways now muddy and clear
I venture out to places near
hearing once more bird sound
in fields green again all around

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