Sunday, December 9, 2012

these are worlds of themselves, their names do not identify them

From the NASA Space Advent Calendar which is HERE.

 The newest candidate for Most Distant Galaxy Yet Known. This newly discovered galaxy, named MACS0647-JD, is very young and only a tiny fraction of the size of our Milky Way. The object is observed 420 million years after the big bang, when the universe was 3 percent of its present age of 13.7 billion years. The inset shows a close-up of the young dwarf galaxy. This is the latest discovery from a large program that uses massive clusters of galaxies as natural zoom lenses to reveal distant galaxies in the early universe. Called the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH), the program allows astronomers to use the gravity of massive galaxy clusters to magnify distant galaxies behind them, an effect called gravitational lensing. In this Hubble observation, astronomers used the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0647+7015 as the giant cosmic telescope. The bright yellow galaxies near the center of the image are cluster members. The cluster's gravity boosted the light from the faraway galaxy, making its image appear approximately eight times brighter than it otherwise would. (NASA, ESA, M. Postman and D. Coe (STScI), and the CLASH Team) 

On the last day of a rough but fortunate voyage,
near the farthest end of the known world,
I found my way to the shores of sentient mountain...

There is another kind of justice than the justice of number,
which can neither forgive nor be forgiven.
There is another kind of mercy than the mercy of Law
which knows no absolution.

There is a justice of newborn worlds which cannot
be counted.
There is a mercy of individual things that spring into
being without reason.
They are just without reason, and their mercy is without

They have received rewards beyond description
because they themselves refuse to be described.
They are virtuous in the sight of God
because their names do not identify them.

Every plant that stands in the light of the sun is a saint
and an outlaw.
Every tree that brings forth blossoms without the 
command of man
is powerful in the sight of God.
Every star that man has not counted
is a world of sanity and perfection.
Every blade of grass is an angel singing in a shower of glory.

These are worlds of themselves.
No man can use or destroy them.
Theirs is the life that moves without being seen and cannot
be understood.

It is useless to look for what is everywhere.
It is hopeless to hope for what cannot be
gained because you already have it.

-Thomas Merton,  "Atlas and the Fat Man", Collected Poems, pp. 690-691


  1. I had read very little of Merton's poetry but now I am hooked - presumably with that same hook which he photographed!

    It reads wonderfully and flows beautifully, putting me in mind of a theological T S Eliot.

    1. I have had the "Collected Poems" for many years - the books if falling apart - but I still find much to ponder there. Yes, a lot like Eliot.

      Atlas and the Fatman is actually a prose sort of poem, several pages long.