In case you're unfamiliar with some of the upcoming astronomical jargon, here are the definitions of a few of the more obscure words that you'll see in the poem:

This poem was first published in the March 1998 issue of The New Zealand Science Monthly, and then in the March/April 1999 issue of Quantum Magazine.

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Copyright 1997 David Arns
See the wonders of the sky--wondrous sky!
Astronomic marvels everywhere do meet the eye!
They are waiting, waiting, waiting
    for us just to take a glance,
And behold them in their splendor,
Filled with awe that they engender,
    as we gaze in dreamlike trance;
And we stare, stare, stare
    through the icy winter air,
And are dazzled at the glory
    of the heav'nly inventory
Of the sky, sky, sky, sky, sky, sky, sky--
At the heav'nly inventory of the sky.

See the mighty galaxies--galaxies!
Twinkling at us shyly through the branches of the trees.
How they shimmer, shimmer, shimmer
    (or it so appears to us),
But their distance is enormous,
So astronomers inform us:
    Some, a billion light-years plus.
But they shine, shine, shine,
    with a radiance benign,
That belies the brilliant, blinding,
    awful glare that we'd be finding,
Were we near, near, near, near, near, near, near--
The glare that we'd be finding, were we near.

Think about exploding stars--dying stars,
Throwing through the heavenlies their luminescent scars.
See them glimmer, glimmer, glimmer
    with a wispiness of light
From their tendrils filamental
Made from gases elemental
    in the darkness of the night,
Reaching out, out, out,
    on their interstellar route
Leaving light-years far behind them
    where the gravity confined them
In the stars, stars, stars, stars, stars, stars, stars--
In the fusion-heated centers of the stars.

Or think about our neighborhood--our neighborhood!
We have asteroids and planets to explore (and yes, we should).
They are spinning, spinning, spinning
    as they orbit 'round the sun,
And their paths, which are elliptic,
All are close to the ecliptic
    As they make their annual run.
They go round, round, round,
    Yet, in vacuum, make no sound,
But continue their rotation,
    their precession and nutation
Through the years, years, years, years, years, years, years--
They continue their rotation through the years.

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